2012 Law Day Art & Essay Contest Winners - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 8, 2012

Annual contest celebrates importance of the courts

The Tennessee Bar Assocation Young Lawyers Division (TBA YLD) has announced the winners of the 2012 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: "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom,” which asked students to consider the importance of the courts and their role in ensuring access to justice for all Americans. Download a more detailed description of the theme

Students receive cash prizes for their winning entries. Look for a display of winning entries at the TBA Convention in Memphis this June.

The YLD would like to thank Jackson lawyer Ashley Holliday with West Tennessee Legal Services for serving as this year’s state Law Day Art and Essay Contest coordinator.

Essay Competition Winners


First Place 

Gloria Yu
11th Grade
Hardin Valley Academy, Knoxville
link to PDF of essay

Second Place

Jack Jones
11th Grade
McCallie School, Chattanooga
link to PDF of essay

Third Place 

Brittany Brogdon
12th Grade
Henry County High School, Paris
link to PDF of essay

Excerpts from First Place Essay
The Courts: The Conscience of America
By Gloria Yu

[The courts] play a special role in the lives of all Americans, impacting not just...those [living] in the present, but also those to come in the future. If [the courts] were to disappear, Americans would cease to see the justice and freedom they so dearly cherish.

It is this freedom our founding fathers wished to preserve from encroachment. That is why the court's most fundamental functions [are] to interpret the laws passed by Congress and declare the constitutionality of executive actions. Without the presence of the courts, there would be no branch of government to look out for the interests of the people, and...legislative and executive branches could abuse their power...

...In these hard economic times [though], courts have been more understaffed than...in decades. Ironically, it is during these times that society needs the guidance of the courts more than ever. The courts are what the heart is to the body: they are the conscience of the nation, the bloodline to the preservation of justice and freedom. [In] order to preserve freedom for all Americans, the nation must save the courts.

Art Competition Winners

First Place

Liana Hu
8th Grade
Farragut Middle School, Knoxville


Second Place

Chloe Stranahan
6th Grade
Meigs Middle School, Nashville
Courthouse Sign:
"For Lease"


Protestors' Signs:
"Give us freedom" .... "No courts, no happiness" ... "Decisions need to be made"


Third Place

Victoria Grider

7th Grade

South Pittsburg Academy, South Pittsburg


Featured Quotes:

"The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice" -- Martin Luther King


"Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever" -- William Howard Taft"


Justice is truth in action" -- Benjamin Disraeli


The patriot's blood is the seed of freedom's tree" -- Thomas Campbell


"I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom." -- Simone de Beauvoir