2020 Law Day Essay Contest winners selected from student entries across Missouri
Jefferson City, MO - Nine students from across Missouri were selected this month as winners of the 2020 Law Day Essay contest. The annual competition, a joint project of The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section and the Missouri National Education Association’s Public Relations Committee, is open to all students in grades 4-12 in Missouri.
This year’s essay prompt asked students to discuss the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote in 1920. Law Day Essay participants were judged on their writing tied to this year’s May 1 Law Day theme – Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100. Older students were asked what substantial changes women’s suffrage brought to American society as well as what additional changes might be needed to fulfill the promise of the 19th Amendment. Younger entrants were asked to discuss why some people, who had to fight to gain the right to vote, might choose not to.
The partnering organizations in the 2020 Law Day Essay Contest are keen to promote civics education among Missouri’s youth.
“This year’s student essays demonstrated a deep understanding of the role the 19th Amendment has played in American society and its continuing impact today,” said Christa Moss, co-chair of the Young Lawyers’ Section Civics Education Committee. “Beyond that, students showed insight into issues with voter participation and provided potential solutions to those problems.”
First-place winner in the high school category, Katelin Meek of Smithville High School, wrote that “...while the addition of the 19th Amendment effectively helped level certain political playing fields, it also served as a harsh reminder that not all in America had voting rights.”
Meek’s essay recognized that African Americans living in the South were often subjected to restrictions that kept many from being able to perform their basic civic responsibilities, such as voting, until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
Kailyn Anderson’s essay, which took first place in the fourth and fifth grade category, discussed the various reasons people might not vote, from registration issues to the perception that their voice doesn’t count in the process. In the same vein, sixth through eighth grade winner, Claire Echternacht suggested solutions to the problem of voter participation including automatic voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting, and increasing the number of voting booths.
The first-place winner in each category will receive $300, second-place winners receive $200, and third-place winners receive $150.
The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section and the Missouri National Education Association’s Public Relations Committee invite Missourians to help congratulate the students who participated in this competition and these winning authors:
4-5th Grade Winners
1st place: Kailyn Anderson, Shenandoah Valley Elementary
2nd place: Marin Schaub, Warren Hills Elementary
3rd place: Alexis Burroughs, Rose Acres Elementary
6-8th Grade Winners
1st place: Claire Echternacht, Camdenton Middle School
2nd place: Avalon Enemark, Camdenton Middle School
3rd place: Olivia Franken, Camdenton Middle School
9-12th Grade Winners
1st place: Katelin Meek, Smithville High School
2nd place: Easton Cromer, Lebanon High School
3rd place: Anusha Chakraborty, Kickapoo High School
The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing lawyers. To achieve its mission, The Missouri Bar provides a wide range of services and resources to its members, as well as the media, educators and the citizens of Missouri. To learn more, visit MoBar.org.