June 22, 2016
Kingsway Academy student Denisha Demeritte, Queen's College student Ameir Taylor, Columbus Primary student Rodnika Francois and College of The Bahamas student Chyna McCartney are all winners. They won their respective divisions in the Templeton World Foundation's annual "Laws of Life" essay competition and each took home a $1,000 tuition/scholarship prize.
Denisha (senior school winner), Amier (junior school winner), Rodnika (primary division winner) and Chyna (college winner) produced the winning entries out of a 2,058 entry field of which 350 essays scored 90-percent and above.
Kingsway Academy also took home the floating trophy after Denisha's entry was scored as the top entry. The English Department at Kingsway Academy, Queen's College and Columbus Primary School also received $1,000 by virtue of the students' wins.
In her winning entry, Denisha explored the topic of people focusing on where they want to go rather than where they have been. She wrote that people must ultimately accept their past, learn from the mistakes that were made and move towards a loftier goal in the future.
"The past is history and thus dwelling on the past is futile," wrote Denisha. "Success is not determined by where we have been, but indeed where we are going and our determination and perseverance to get there," she wrote.
Denisha's essay hammered home the point that forgetting the past will make the future better. And that living in every moment and placing all of one's attention on preparing for what is to come will undeniably generate success and happiness.
She focused much of her essay on the trials and tribulations of one of the most successful and richest people in the world today in Oprah Winfrey who is said to have a net worth of $2.9 billion. Denisha wrote about Winfrey's rough start in life -- she was molested by her cousin, uncle and a family friend, rand away from home, and at the age of 14 gave birth to a child who did. But she did not allow those horrible early events in her life to deter her from becoming a success. Winfrey became a television personality, and is now the CEO of her own television network.
"Oprah Winfrey did not let her past define her," wrote Denisha. "She accepted the fact that she could not change what was already done, but realized that she had the power to control her future. Had Oprah focused all her energy and time on the trials and hardships she faced as a child, rather than on making her latter greater, she may not have been on the cover of Forbes magazine or be an inspiration to others."
College winner Chnya McCartney's topic was, "If you have inner peace, you can be happy even in the midst of a rapidly changing world."
She wrote that Sir John Templeton's law is certainly true, and that inner peace alters an individual's outlook on all facets of his or her life to the extent that nothing external has any power over him or her. McCartney wrote that people accept themselves and others entirely, and therefore, he or she alone becomes the master of his or her happiness, despite the challenges that arise in a constantly changing world.
"The main cause of unhappiness today is because most individuals dwell on their past. In a world where the evolution of social media makes it more difficult for blunders and mistakes to be forgotten, moving past these mistakes becomes difficult," wrote McCartney.
"For many there seems to be no way to escape the judgment by others over irreparable choices and actions. Slip-ups are resurrected from the past and shaped into weapons that cause scars, and the resulting reactions from the victims of this abuse are often depression, a tendency for self-harm and even suicide. However, with inner peace, the judgment loses its sting.
The individual realizes that every individual does or says things that he or she may live to regret and accepts that the past cannot be changed. Instead of feeling disgusted and full of resentment because of these shortcomings, such an individual focuses his or her energies on making decisions that build a reputation that is indicative of someone who has grown to be more than the sum of his or her downfalls. Inner peace provides the individual with freedom from the burden of the past and he or she is able to move forward and live happily in the present."
The "Laws of Life" essay competition is a joint venture between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc.; and organized by the Writing Unit of the Department of Education. The Templeton World Charity Foundation funded the essay competition for the eighth consecutive year, with a donation of over $60,000 to defray the cost of the competition.
Shavaughn Moss, Guardian Lifestyles Editor
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