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Barnett, Miller, Venkatagiri and Sands top at Laws of Life Essay Competition

Barnett, Miller, Venkatagiri and Sands top at Laws of Life Essay Competition
  • Queen’s College student Mila Sands wins the primary school division. She is pictured with her father, Dr. Duane Sands.

  • Elise Barnett, left, winner of the college division, accepts her prize from New York best-selling author Janice Kaplan, right. PHOTOS: TCL BAHAMAS


Published: Jun 19, 2017

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Elise Barnett, Michael Miller, Katherine Venkatagiri and Mila Sands are the winners of the 2017 Laws of Life Essay Competition.

Barnett, a student at the University of The Bahamas, took home $1,000.

Genesis Academy student Michael Miller and Queen’s College students Katherine Venkatagiri and Mila Sands each won a $1,000 tuition scholarship.

Genesis Academy also carted off the Dr. John Templeton Memorial Floating Trophy as the top-scoring essay winner. The English departments of the winners’ schools also received $1,000 each. Additionally, cash prizes ranging from $50 to $1,000 were awarded to student finalists, schools with the most finalists and teachers with the most finalists.

This year’s essay topics focused on laws associated with gratitude. The overarching thought was that, following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, students would wish to express their thoughts on being grateful.

Serethea Clarke, deputy director of education of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, encouraged the students to continue to strive for excellence.

“It is my hope that each of you will pursue a life that upholds the law of life that you have written about. I encourage you to continue to be a part of the generation who will promote an excellent work ethic on a national level. I believe that you will become productive citizens who will contribute to the sustainable development of The Bahamas.”

Competition chairperson Mena Griffith said Sir John believed that there exists a set of rules that can make people’s lives more happy and successful, if they live by them. She said he called those rules the laws of life; he believed that such rules could come from many sources, including ancient religious texts and scientific enquiry.

“He often encouraged people to think about their own rules and pioneered the first Laws of Life Essay contest to help school-age children think about the laws which they want to live by,” said Griffith.

The competition, which was launched in The Bahamas in 2009 by the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) Inc., is organized by The Department of Education’s Writing Unit with the TWCF committee.

Janice Kaplan, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life”, and Dr. Andrew Serazin, president, TWCF, spoke at the awards ceremony at the British Colonial Hilton hotel.



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