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Students honored for citizenship, essays and art during Missouri Bar event

More than 20 students were honored Wednesday during the 2019 Outstanding Citizen, Law Day Essay and Law Day Art Awards Banquet at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. The youth in attendance ranged from early elementary students to high school seniors, but they had at least one thing in common: a passion for civics.

Each spring, The Missouri Bar and its Young Lawyers’ Section (YLS) host the event in partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Missouri National Education Association (MNEA).

The banquet celebrated the winners of three distinct competitions: Outstanding Citizens were selected by The Missouri Bar and DESE based on their knowledge of the principles of government and citizenship through academic achievement, participation in extracurricular activities and service to the community. Law Day Essay awardees were judged on their writings reflecting on the significance of the First Amendment in modern times, a topic tied to this year’s Law Day theme, Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade were considered for the Law Day art competition, which invited them to illustrate the theme.

Budding artist Jay Albin received first place in the Law Day art competition for his colorful depiction of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to a crowd.

“I did the pencil and then colored what I wanted to,” Albin said. Albin, a student at St. Francis of Assisi School in St. Louis, also added the words “Peace in America” at the top of the page. Albin’s family and teacher, who were there to celebrate with him, said the contest was a perfect fit for his talents.

Aiden (Yejun) Moon, a student at Shenandoah Valley Elementary School, entered the competition for fun and ended up taking first place in the 4-5 grade essay competition. He said the writing process exposed him to several differences between freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

“Freedom of speech and press is becoming more important as we use it for exchanging our thoughts with others. […] We should use this freedom to make our society healthy and more enlightened,” Moon wrote.

Carl Junction R-1 Senior Maici Craig was selected as one of nine Outstanding Citizens. She said that individuals should “use your talents and your passions to identify a need in your community and fix that need.” It’s a belief she applies in her own life as she volunteers and leads campus organizations.

The special day also included lunch and remarks by Missouri Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Dr. Margie Vandeven and Missouri Bar President Ray Williams.

“As president of a profession which calls upon its members to perform public service, I am in awe of you—our state’s greatest student leaders,” Williams said. “Your initiative, leadership and commitment to strengthening your communities gives me great hope for the future.”

Click here to see more photos from the ceremony. A full list of winners from the day follows.

Outstanding Citizens

Clay Atterberry – Plato High School

Taylor Blackwell – Bowling Green High School

Mahtab Chaudhry – Parkway South High School

Maici Craig – Carl Junction R-1

Valerie Holt – Jefferson City High School

Maryam Khalil – Lee’s Summit West High School

Olivia Riek – Timberland High School

Molly Wooster – Lee’s Summit West High School

Jesse Wren – Arcadia Valley R-II High School

Law Day Essay Contest

Grades 4-5

1st Place: Aiden (Yejun) Moon – Shenandoah Valley Elementary School

2nd Place: Daniel Clifford Remington – PE65 North

3rd Place: Abby Blum – Thayer Elementary School

Grades 6-8

1st Place: Alexis Stroup – Camdenton Middle School

2nd Place: Cooper Rhodenizer – Camdenton Middle School

rd Place: Bear Shore – Camdenton Middle School

Grades 9-12

1st Place: Desiree Nixon – Kickapoo High School

2nd Place: Abigail Bates – Ste. Genevieve High School

3rd Place: Hannah Rogers – Camdenton High School

Law Day Art Contest

1st Place: Jay Albin – St. Francis of Assisi School

2nd Place: Lukus Lamming – St. Regis Academy

3rd Place: Keegan Ferguson – St. Francis of Assisi School