Penobscot County Bar Association awards prizes in Law Day art and essay contest
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
A freshman from Highview Christian Academy and a senior from Brewer High School have taken top honors in the 2021 Law Day Essay and Art Contest sponsored by the Penobscot County Bar Association.
Cornelia Baciu, a freshman from Highview Christian Academy in Charleston, won the essay division and Zoey Rackler, a senior from Brewer High School, won the art division.
This year’s theme, “Advancing the Rule of Law Now,” asked students to consider the legal principle that all people and institutions are accountable to the law.
Baciu’s winning essay explored the application of the rule of law in the context of women’s rights and systemic racism, and Rackler’s winning painting depicted lions attacking prey on the steps of the Capitol.
“The rule of law thrives on the equality of people — however, recent events show that America has failed in ensuring the equal rights of its people,” she wrote. “The bias against certain people is a significant
issue in the fulfillment of the rule of law. The inequality in this country continues to prevail after so much time.”
Second place went to Grace Goodwin, a Brewer High School junior, for her essay titled, “Combating the Deterioration of Law,” and Celia Buetens, an Orono High School junior, for her illustrated interpretation of the scales of justice.
“Societal change addressing inequalities in the justice system requires new policies, advocacy, education and participation from everyone seeking improvement, so I end this statement with a call to action: Do what you can,” Goodwin wrote.
First place winners received $500 cash prizes from the bar association. Second place entries received $250 each.
Honorable mentions went to essayist Hannah Reed, a Brewer High School sophomore, and artist Olga Baciu, a Highview Christian Academy junior, for their entries.
This year, there were 26 essay submissions and 14 art submissions, with eight high schools and one home-schooled student participating, according to Tracy Collins of the bar association. Last year, just 13 students entered the contest.
The local bar association has offered the scholarship since 1997 in connection with Law Day, which has been celebrated on May 1 since 1958. The day was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a “day of national dedication to the principle of government under law.” During the height of the Cold War, Law Day was counterpoised against May Day as feted in the Soviet Union, according to the American Bar Association, which chooses the theme of the contest.