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Foundations for Life is a quotation-based program that promotes reading, critical thinking, and writing skills while simultaneously introducing or reinforcing character education. 

Foundations for Life is adapted from the Laws of Life Essay Contest established by the John Templeton Foundation and is endorsed by:

aasa-logo   naesp-logo   nassp-logo 

Foundations for Life has many benefits for students and teachers. The program: 

  • Engages students intellectually and emotionally 
  • Integrates easily into existing curricula and activities 
  • Provides excellent practice for state testing and SAT or ACT exams 
  • Advances California Common Core State Standards-based goals 
  • Offers prestigious county-wide recognition and cash prizes for winning essays                    

Contest Prompt:

Reflect – Choose a maxim* (quotation) that you find meaningful and reflect on how that maxim applies to your life and/or the world around you. 

Express – Write an essay that demonstrates an understanding of the underlying wisdom of the quotation. 

Commit – Integrate the maxim’s message and the insight derived from it into a long-term life strategy that reinforces good character. 


Maxims for Middle and High School Students: Timeless Truths for Everyday Living (Adobe PDF)

Volume 1 Issue 1
Volume 1 Issue 2
Volume 1 Issue 3
Volume 1 Issue 4 


Click here to read all the
2020 essays online!

Essays due April 25, 2021.

To submit your essay:

Email your essay in PDF or .doc format to Paula Terrill at

Essays may also be shared with
through Google.

Event Contacts:

Paula Terrill
Student Event Coordinator
(559) 651-0565

Jenean Bray
ELA/ELD Instructional Rounds Staff Development & Curriculum Consultant


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to volunteer for our student events

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