BANGOR, Maine — A junior at Hampden Academy and a freshman at John Bapst Memorial High School were the first-place winners in the Penobscot County Bar Association’s annual Law Day essay and poster contest.
Law Day was celebrated May 1.
The $500 scholarship prizes were presented Wednesday to Laura Fairman of Dixmont for her essay and to Katherine Higgins of Glenburn for her poster at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
The theme for this year’s contest was “Realizing the Dream: Equality for all.” Students were asked to reflect on whether, 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued and nearly 50 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the nation has succeeded or failed in its promise of equality for all.
This year’s contest drew 46 entries, Joseph Bethony, the Bangor lawyer who organized the event, said Wednesday.
Fairman, who wants to enter the U.S. Foreign Service after she graduates from college, said in her essay that true equality only is achieved when legal action is accompanied by social action.
“Intense progress has been made, but we are not there yet,” Fairman wrote in her essay. “Equality begins with freedom under the law, and becomes real when there is no lingering prejudice against a certain thing or group of people.
“However, in order for there to be equality, the freedom must be accepted socially as well as legally,” she concluded. “If the citizens do not have tolerance, there is no chance of equal opportunity. So equality is as much a social movement as a political one.”
Higgins said that because King delivered his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., she chose to feature the monument in her poster. On the steps to the statue of Abraham Lincoln, she wrote the words “Emancipation Proclamation,” “Civil Rights,” “Women’s Rights” and “Equality for All.”
Depicted on the steps are King, Rosie the Riveter and a same-sex couple in the midst of a marriage proposal.
Second-place winners, who were awarded $250 scholarships, were Madison Provost of Dexter and Malik Robinson of Bangor in the art and essay categories, respectively. Provost is a student at Dexter Regional High School and Robinson attends Bangor High School.
Cheyanne Andrews of Dexter and Cara Doiron of Bangor received honorable mentions for their posters. Both attend high schools in the town in which they live.
Thomas Oliver of Winterport and Aurora Sullivan of Old Town received honorable mentions for their essays. Oliver attends Hampden Academy while Sullivan is a student at Old Town High School.
Judges for the contest were Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Andrew Mead, District Court Judges Bruce Malone and Bruce Jordan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Malone and Bangor lawyers Samuel and Paul Chaiken.