Three Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 students recently were named winners of the McHenry County Bar Association’s 2018 Law Day essay contest.
The annual essay contest is open to all sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in McHenry County. This year’s theme was “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.” In 800 words or fewer, students were charged with defining which branch of government – legislative, executive or judicial – affects their life the most and why.
About 50 entries were received, and essays were judged based on content, originality, personal reflection and interpretation of the theme.
Kate Garton and Abby Fry, both eighth-graders at Hannah Beardsley Middle School, and seventh-grade Lundahl Middle School student Lucas Nielsen participated.
“We received a great group of essay submissions this year,” said Jennifer Johnson, second vice president of the McHenry County Bar Association and essay contest chairwoman. “These three students had essays that were truly phenomenal, and each had a unique and thoughtful spin on this year’s theme. Having been involved with our essay submissions for the past few years, I can say that Abby’s, Kate’s and Lucas’ essays were some of the best we have seen.”
In her essay, Abby pointed to the legislative branch as the most influential in the U.S. government. Lucas said he has considered becoming a lawyer and that the judicial branch was the clear choice. Kate also named the judicial branch as the most influential.
District 47 students read portions of their winning essays at the Law Day ceremony May 4 at the McHenry County Government Center in Woodstock. Each student received a $100 check and a certificate. After the ceremony, the students and their families were invited to attend a luncheon featuring guest speaker state Sen. Pamela Althoff.
Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to strengthen the country’s heritage of liberty, justice and equality. Law Day activities commemorate the legal process that has contributed to the freedoms all Americans share. Today, many local bar and legal education associations use Law Day as a legal education tool, particularly for students. District 47 students were encouraged to enter the contest by their language arts and social studies teachers, Mrs. MacNally (Hannah Beardsley) and Mrs. Dool (Lundahl).