Hampden Academy students win bar association law day contest

Posted May 01, 2010, at 1:06 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:01 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two Hampden Academy Students have won this year’s Penobscot County Bar Association Law Day Contest.

Ryan Asalone, 18, won first place in the essay portion of the competition and Chelsea Kuzio, 16, won first place for her artwork. Asalone is a senior and Kuzio is a sophomore. Both students live in Hampden.

Each student will receive a $500 award at a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center, 78 Exchange St.

The contest was open to Penobscot County students in grades 9 through 12.

The theme this year asked, “How would you bring the U.S. Constitution into the 21st Century to respond to: advances in science and technology; the tension between individual rights and the open-ended threat of terrorism; or, the ever-expanding uses of military forces overseas?”

Asalone wrote in his essay that the Constitution James Madison created still can be used to resolve difficult issues through the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation.

“The Constitution does not need to be changed, nor does it need many amendments to help bring it into the 21st century,” Asalone said. “The founding fathers were visionaries, but they could not fully see the future. It was impossible for them to anticipate all future variables to best serve the American citizens. The Constitution was therefore created with elasticity so it could face the issues of the founder’s day, today and the future.”

Kuzio illustrated the question concerning military forces overseas in a pencil drawing that includes symbols of freedom — a flag, an eagle and a portion of the Constitution — and soldiers whose ankles are chained to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

The Penobscot County Bar Association received 20 entries from students at Bangor Christian Schools, Bangor High School, Dexter Regional High School, Brewer High School, Orono High School and Hampden Academy.

The 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 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 bar association.

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