Sarah E. Williams | 5/27/2005 2:17:11 AM
SHREVEPORT - C.E. Byrd High School students scored in every award category in the recent Foundations for Life national essay contest by the Josephson Institute of Ethics and Character Counts!
Senior Lisa Guy was selected as one of the "best of the best" among all contestants and for that honor received a $1,000 scholarship.
Winners in the summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude categories each received a certificate. They were seniors Ashley McMaster, summa cum laude; Whitney Baronette, magna cum laude; Jennifer Cook, cum laude; and junior Claire Adkins, cum laude.
This was the first year for the contest, according to LSU AgCenter 4-H and character education expert Sarah Williams, who was delighted by the Louisiana achievement. Essays may be seen on the FFL Web site, www.FFL-essays.org.
The character educator explained that Foundations for Life is a quote-based essay and recognition program that enhances the reading, critical thinking and composition skills required by the new SAT exam, state and federal standards and the No Child Left Behind proficiency testing. It is made possible through funding by the John Templeton Foundation.
Maxims, proverbs and sayings provide a flash of insight to illuminate life’s journey, Williams said. Familiar examples are, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and "You are only as good as your word."
As students reflect on the meaning of quotations, they express their own values, leading them to commit to living more wisely and effectively.
"The Foundation for Life essay program can make a difference in that it gives young people a chance to reflect on issues that will always matter to them," Williams said.
"When young people reach ethical conclusions on their own, they understand them better and act on them more firmly," she noted, adding, "Students build analytical thinking and writing skills, and schools meet important standards-based academic goals."
The character expert explained that when you give a special hearing to young people’s ideas and feelings, you honor them, give parents a feeling of pride at their child’s efforts and accomplishments and let teachers enjoy the satisfaction and public recognition for their students’ growth.
In addition to all those benefits, Foundations for Life is fun, Williams said.
The financier Sir John Templeton established the Laws of Life student essay contest in his home state of Tennessee in 1987. His goal was to impress upon students that moral principles inevitably guide our existence, and one should reflect on the wisdom of the ages to live the best life. Today, the Josephson Institute of Ethics conducts Sir John’s contest under the new name of Foundations for Life.
FFL is nonpartisan, nonsectarian, flexible and inclusive. Comprehensive materials are free. Information can be obtained through the parish LSU AgCenter Extension office and the character education program conducted by Louisiana 4-H and the LSU AgCenter.