Law Day 2019 Contest Winners

Each year, the Omaha Legal Professionals Association (OLPA) sponsor the Law Day essay contest to area eighth-grade students and the Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA) gives area fifth graders a chance to win with a poster contest. Both competitions feature the Law Day theme for the year.

The essay contest winners were: first place – Nathan Liu, Kiewit Middle School; second place – Libby Meade, Kiewit Middle School; and third place – Peter Sullivan, St. Pius/St. Leo School.

The post contest winners were: first [lace – Tessa Carrell, Neihardt Elementary; second place – Noah Hall, Pine Creek Elementary; and third place – Caden Ritonya, Pine Creek Elementary.

First Place Essay

By Nathan Liu
Kiewit Middle School

Imagine a world with an oppres­sive regime controlling the entire government. There is no freedom of speech or the press. The govern­ment has full control of all media and all people in this country.

If you write an article criticizing the people in power, you are ar­rested, put in jail, and your family is treated like outcasts and pariahs of society. This world without free­doms of speech and press is not a dystopian future of what could hap­pen. This is modern day China. My parents are immigrants from China, and I am extremely thankful that I do not have to live under the watch­ful eye of the government. I can say and write what I want, making my opinion heard, something unique to America. 

Today, these basic freedoms are being challenged. Many times on college campuses, speakers are prohibited to present a new way of looking at problems that pester our world today. Furthermore, plat­forms such as YouTube and Twitter are banning political accounts that, while quite radical, aren’t a call to harm anybody. This is a violation of our rights that millions have laid their lives down to protect.

Advances in any area should not challenge our rights that can­not be questioned. No matter how technology, people, or our world changes, these basic unalienable right that God gave us should never be compromised.

Second Place Essay

By Libby Meade
Kiewit Middle School

When a common man is free to speak his beliefs and state his will, he holds power. If stripped of that freedom, he becomes subject to anyone who holds authority over him, and powerless in injustice. The right to voice our beliefs today is a freedom our founding fathers secured for us at the birth of this nation, and this freedom is just as vital today as it was 200 years ago.

Similar to our freedom of speech, the freedom of press is one of our most important rights as it gives citizens the power to share opinions and ideas even contrary to gov­ernment policy. According to the ‘Committee To Protect Journalists,’ North Korea’s government con­trols all of the nation’s journalists, as well as radio and television, and often restricts the pictures visitors are allowed to take. This gives the government control of public knowledge. In the U.S., our right to free press protects us from being blinded to the truth.

As it is, being able to write and share this essay is a testament to the fundamental rights our nation respects, giving us freedom to be more than subjects of a country, but rather free individuals who stand up for and protect what is right.

Third Place Essay

By Peter Sullivan
St. Pius/St. Leo School

America has always prided itself with its freedom and its ability for everyone to be able to voice their own opinions. This is only possible because of the first amendment which states “Congress, shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Without the first amendment the U.S. wouldn’t have a free society in any respect.

Freedom of speech is an impor­tant element of a free society in the way of allowing the people to voice their opinions without legal con­sequence. It keeps the government honest by allowing people to criti­cize something that the government did that they find unfair, or absurd. Without freedom of speech, no­body would ever get the chance to speak out without being suppressed by a tyrannical government. That is why for any society to be free it must have the freedom of speech.

Similarly, the freedom of the press is necessary to have a free society. Without this simple free­dom the government would be able to control what was published in newspapers, and what was broad­cast by news media. That would leave little room for anyone to pub­licly express any different ideas or policies that opposed that of the government’s. So as is the case with freedom of speech, the free­dom of the press keeps the govern­ment honest, and keeps it from be­coming too powerful. In this aspect it is also essential to a free society.

That is why both of these indi­vidual freedoms are essential to America’s freedom as a whole.


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