The outstanding Dawson County High School students honored were:
• Tucker Turner, ninth-grade winner
• Addison Washburn, Twila Transue and Shelby Duncan, ninth-grade honorable mention
• Woody Perry, 10th-grade winner
• Alexis Reeves and Jessica Chambers, 10th-grade honorable mention
• Travis Doane, Dawson County High School winner and 11th-grade winner
• David Goswick and Kaila Burt, 11th grade honorable mention
• Hannah Chambers, 12th-grade winner
• Tristan Mezick and Kayla Autry, 12th-grade honorable mention
The local Rotary Club recently recognized the Dawson County High School Laws of Life Essay Contest winners during a special awards program.
Promoting literacy and character building, the program challenges students to write an essay about their own Law of Life and encourages students to reflect on traits such as honesty, perseverance, generosity and compassion.
Eleventh-grader Travis Doane's essay titled "Never take for granted what has been granted to you" received top honors and focused on the blessing of physical capabilities.
An accomplished runner, he spoke of his father whose legs had been severely burned as a child.
"As I come closer to accomplishing my 10-mile morning run, I begin to realize just how blessed I really am to physically be able to do this. Because not everybody can ... He could barely walk for the entirety of his childhood," he said.
"I'm certain that my father would give anything to be able to run just one mile, even more so, 10 of them, as I am truly blessed by God to be. To look at my father reminds me to never take for granted what has been granted me."
Doane was one of more than a dozen local students awarded for their essays last week in the statewide contest.
There are similar laws of life contests across the nation and internationally, but the Georgia contest is the largest Laws of Life contest in the United States and the largest essay contest of any kind in North America.
Fully endorsed as a Rotary Character Education Program, more than 41,800 essays were submitted by Georgia high school students in 2014.
"This year more than $18,000 is being presented by the Georgia Laws of Life essay contest in student and teacher award money," said Rotarian Russ Deloach.
Each school winner receives $100, while each grade level winner receives $50 and an additional $25 from the Rotary Club.
"Dawson County Rotary was one of the earliest to adopt it before it became a national program for Rotary," DeLoach said. "This has been an exceptional program that has grown every year."
He described longtime advisor Diana Turner, who plans to retire as an educator at the end of the school year, as the driving force behind that in Dawson County.
DeLoach said Rotary plans to thank Turner for her contributions with a commemorative brick at the splash park the club is building at Rock Creek Park.