The Tennessee Bar Assocation Young Lawyers Division (TBA YLD) has announced the winners of the 2007 Tennessee Law Day Art and Essay Competitions.
Each May, in conjunction with the national Law Day celebration, the YLD hosts an art and essay contest for students in the state. The contests are designed to give young people the opportunity to express their ideas about living in a society that is governed by the rule of law, and achieve statewide recognition for their work.
The theme is set each year by the American Bar Association, which partners with state and local legal organizations that hold programs and events around the country to mark Law Day. The purpose of celebrating Law Day is two-fold: (1) to instill in students an appreciation for the law and foster a greater understanding of the American judicial system, and (2) provide an opportunity for attorneys to serve their local communities.
The theme of this year’s contest was: "Liberty Under Law: Empowering Youth, Assuring Democracy," which emphasized the important role young people play in society, as well the important role society plays in making sure that youth understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. The theme was designed to spur discussion of how the law can better serve the needs and interests of young people and how communities can ensure that youth are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to be effective citizens.
Students receive cash prizes for their winning entries.
Special thanks to Memphis lawyer and YLD board member Mason Wilson who coordinated the competition.
Essay Competition Winners
Hendersonville Christian Academy
Waverly Central High School
Excerpts from First Place Essay
By Dinah Webster
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. In order for youth to be effective in society, they must be educated, encouraged and enabled... The first step toward becoming an effective citizen is a child’s education. Youth must understand the democratic process and their role in society. If they are not taught at school or in their homes about the country in which they live and [its] political system, they will not understand why they should obey its laws… The second step for equipping youth for leadership is to encourage them. Young people making a positive influence on society should be encouraged to continue doing well… The third and final step for engaging youth in democracy is to enable them to take part in the political process of the country. When youth are involved in the political process, they are more likely to go out to the [polls] and take advantage of the opportunity to elect their leaders… Youth must be taught at home and in the schools how to be [virtuous], rather than what will get them ahead in life. Society is very influential on youth; therefore, it should tell teens what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear.