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'Laws of Life' 2004 Winners – Education Complex

Laws of Life
By Sherna Powell
Education Complex High School 12th Grade – First Place

As a little girl growing up I heard this phrase over and over, never judge the book by its cover. In today's society many people like to judge others before they even meet the person. Everybody isn't the same so I don't think that gives us the right to judge others, because we never know exactly what that person may have to offer.
There was a time when my cousin and I were attending a banquet, we were not the best dressed there, every one watched us turned their faces immediately. We were not properly introduced to anyone there.
When everything was just about ready to start the top owner of the company where my cousin worked walked in, he saw my cousin immediately came over to her and he introduced the guest speaker for the night, which turned out to be my cousin.
Then every one had a different attitude towards her. They were too busy being so high class that they didn't take time to realize that my cousin was the owner of one of the best businesses under her boss: Over and over in today's society I have seen this happen repeatedly. That's why we as human beings need to understand that it isn't good to judge a book by its cover. Because my life may seem so much better than yours that doesn't mean I must act as if that person doesn't exist.
As a teen growing up in this generation you learn a lot about the people around you. And how they react to someone because they feel that this person doesn't qualify for their standards. When I was a sophomore attending the St. Croix Educational Complex I started talking to this boy and we became close friends. Everyone was asking me why I'm with him, and he's so ugly and black. If I was the type of person to listen to every thing I heard I would never get the chance to know that this boy had such a wonderful personality and he made me happy.
I think people today need to realize what others have to offer on the inside instead of the outside.
I've learned the greatest thing in life is life itself. That's why I feel it's not good to judge a book by it's cover, but by what you' ve learned.
A Lesson in Faith
By Jenel Murray
Education Complex High School 11th Grade – First Place

What is faith? Do you question what's considered as God's will, or do you embrace the acts that seem unjustified? When you turn to God in prayer, and the answers you seek never come, do you still believe in God's almighty power or do you turn away from him in anger, bitterness and resentment? Tell me! What happens when a life is suddenly snatched away? Do you still stand firm in faith and give God thanks and praise? Well, my faith has definitely been tested when at the age of fifteen I suddenly lost my father. As a result of his death, I felt unsatisfied with God, and rebelled against any acts of praise and worship of which I was expected to be an active participant. For what was faith to this fifteen year old was definitely shattered in the announcement of my father's death. The question still remains with me, it is possible to stand firm in your faith when your faith seems to have abandoned you?
As a child, my parents would gather our family together and we'd join in family prayer. We were taught that there is a God. We, the children, were taught to ask God for our needs for He hears and answers prayers. We were told all things are possible with God, and in our child like innocence we believed. We had faith for we believed that God hears and answers prayers. We were showered with real life stories that demonstrated the miraculous power of faith and the sorrows that happen to us due to a lack of it.
Therefore, when my father first took ill, I was concerned but I believed he would make it. I relied on my faith to comfort me.
There was an outpouring of prayers for him. Therefore, how could I, a trusting teenager, not expect my faith to reward me and save my father's life. For a while, it an seemed possible until that morning when his heart stopped and he never awoken again.
Anger and bitterness grew within me. I didn't want to pray or go to church. I didn't want to hear about God. How could He do this to me, to us? Didn't we pray?
Didn't we believe? Didn't we have faith? Hebrews 11:1 says,"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." James 5:15 further states that, "The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up." I was sure of what I hoped for and very certain of what I could not see. I offered prayers in faith. My father himself offered prayers of faith. So why then wasn't he made well? Why wasn't he raised up? I could not hold on to faith now and not question God.
This lost of faith left me helpless. No one could erase the bitterness. I became angry and frustrated. I felt as if I was set-up, even let down. I saw myself as a fool to have faith in God. I didn't believe in God any longer because if there were a God, He would have saved my father's life. Why was it that others had been ill, and they made it? Why couldn't it be the same for my dad?
It's been four months since the death of my father. What life lesson has this experience taught me? Is it possible to stand firm in faith when your faith seems to have abandoned you? The lesson that I learned is that sometimes people get confused because they base their faith on feelings. Things can make you feel bad, but these things have nothing to do with faith. My father did not die because of a lack of faith. He simply died because it was his time. The Lord does giveth and taketh away, and that's why you don't take your life for granted. My mother has also helped me to understand that it is possible to stand firm in faith when your faith seems to have abandoned you. I must hold to the belief that God will take care of us for his goal is that we have an eternal spiritual life not an eternal physical life. Faith brings hope and hope helps us to strive for success. Without faith there is no purpose in life, no reason to go on. With faith all things are possible.
Laws of Life
By Precious Laurent
Education Complex High School 10th grade – First Place

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure."
– George Edward Woodberry
What is defeat? According to the Webster's Dictionary defeat is to prevent the successful outcome of. Lets be real. No one is successful in everything that they do, and defeat is not the worst part of it. Not to have tried is the true failure. If you didn't try to do something you would not be anywhere in life, because to try is to live. As a child if you did not try to walk or talk then you wouldn't have been able to do that and that is failure.
As a child I have tried to do many things and many things I have failed. But as many times as I have failed I have succeeded. In school not being number one was one of my defeats. I have tried to become number 1 and because I have tried, being in the Honor Roll all of my life, that is one of my greatest achievements. Not to have tried would not get me as far as I am today. I would like to thank my competitors for keeping me on my feet.
School has not been the only thing I have learned from. When playing sport there are many defeats. Not winning in sports is one of the toughest defeats to face. This is one of the toughest defeats because you're not the only one that suffers, but the whole team. I have never been on a team that won the championship, but because I have tried out for these teams I have learned so much in the process. I have tried out for basketball and volleyball and could say that I can play. I'm not the best but if I try I will do better.
I have been trying to get better at things all my life. Not to long ago I was learning how to
skate. Probably one of the most disappointing and rewarding things I have done. At first it was disappointing because when I was first learning how to skate I tried to go down a hill. I fell down no less than 5 times, but no matter how many times I fell I would get up and try again. The rewarding part of all of this was that I got pretty good at it. I can say the same thing goes for learning to swim, cook, and dance. The best part of all my hard work is that I had fun learning.
As you can see my defeats have brought me enormous rewards, not because I have failed but because I tried. If you ask what is defeat now, I would have no alternative but to say it is a step that is leading you towards something better. It is true that defeat is not the worst failure, not to have tried is the true failure. If you don't try you miss out on so many opportunities in life, and I don't know about you but I don't want to miss out on any. This is why this Quote by George Edward Woodberry is my moral, my philosophy; it is my law of life.
A Man Is What He Believes
By Adrian Tutein
Education Complex High School 9th Grade – First Place

Have you ever been in a situation to do something, but because you don't believe in yourself and you don't have any self- confidence. That's where the topic of my essay comes from, " A Man Is What He Believes", A man can do anything he wants, but is often told by anything in life. So when all of these negative remarks are done and eventually become what people told him he'll be, "working for minimum wage or heading towards jail."
That is the reason why so many young people don't even go to college, and half don't even make it through high school. They just drop out. A lot of my peers, who go to school with me, often fail tests. Some don't care and others just don't believe enough in themselves. This too has often happened to me; someone says I will never be able to do this or do that.
At the beginning of the school year (2003-2004) I wanted to be in the magnet program at my school. But I wasn't, I was in the regular academic program. When I said that I wanted to be in the magnet program, there were people like those I was talking about earlier who said, "you, in the magnet program; never." They were quick to think negatively about me doing something that I wanted to do. They were quick to cut me down and say that I did not have the ability.
But there were also those who believed in me and had positive things to say. Since I had already believed in myself so much and had enough confidence, I followed my dream. A couple of months later when report cards were distributed, my grades were exceptionally great. If I had been a weak person- with little or no self- confidence, who could easily be influenced, I would have simply become disenchanted and not make any effort to perform well. However, as my grades reflect, I ignored the down pressers and I put my head to the books. To my great surprise and pleasure, one of my teachers told me that he had recommended me along with others for the magnet program.
Now that I am in it I must say that it's a challenge, but I'll manage. words that came to mind were that of Isaac Bickerstaff, "Those Who Think Nobly are Noble." Once you can get your mind to believe you can achieve anything. This, I have learned from from the hit song of Ruben Studdard "don't ever give up on your dreams as impossible as they may seem. Because you never know which one will make your life complete." A man truly is what he believes.

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