Local legal community honors Law Day winners

Nine students from around the county received awards Friday in a session of Lycoming County Court for the Lycoming Law Association’s annual Law Day.

Created in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Law Day is nationally recognized every May 1.

The American Bar Association picks a topic each year and students (public, private or home schooled) are invited to submit work for either the essay or art competition.

This year’s topic — The 14th Amendment in Transforming American Democracy — focused on the equal protection and due process aspects of the otherwise broad amendment.

The relevant portion of the amendment reads, “… Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws.”

“This is an exciting day,” Ryan M. Tira, local attorney and president of the law association, said. “It’s a great way to show the kids the law and history of the country and how they’re interrelated. I always enjoy that it’s a way for my own children to get involved in what I do.”

The students’ essays tackled tough topics in issues such as voting rights, the 1944 wrongful execution of 14-year-old George Stinney, illegal immigration and the relationship between minority groups and law enforcement.

“I’m always impressed with the quality and variety of the essays,” District Judge and Law Day chairman Christian D. Frey said.

In the art competition this year, students used posters and even a video to share their views on why the 14th amendment has been so important in shaping the democratic society of America.

“Each year these kids do such a phenomenal job,” President Judge Nancy L. Butts said. “It’s nice to hear about what we do from another voice and a completely different perspective.”

Butts also thanked not only the students, but the parents who encouraged them to submit work.

“These take a great deal of passion and a great deal of thought,” Judge Dudley N. Anderson said. “This field could use good, strong advocates like yourselves.”

For those unable to attend the ceremony, it was videotaped and will be shown by Comcast on Channel 190 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

The essay winners were:

• Lindsay Garber; Third grade; Lyter Elementary

• Sophia Carithers; Fourth grade; Central Elementary

• Lanie Mussina; Seventh grade; McCall Middle School

• Faith Leathers; Twelth grade; Jersey Shore High School

• Emma Strickland; Sixth grade; Loyalsock Middle School

The art winners were:

• Reagan Tucker; First grade; Lyter Elementary

• Rain Snyder; Third grade; Lyter Elementary

• Alice Ravert; Third grade; Lyter Elementary

• Julia Mertes; Ninth grade; Montoursville High School