Outstanding Citizens and Law Day Award Winners Celebrated in Jefferson City

March 14, 2016

The Missouri Bar, along with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Missouri National Education Association (NEA), honored 31 students at the 2016 Outstanding Citizens and Law Day Awards Luncheon held Monday, March 14, at the Capitol Plaza in Jefferson City.

Erik Bergmanis, president of The Missouri Bar, welcomed more than 100 attendees including award winners, their parents and teachers, to the awards luncheon.

“There are several similarities among the outstanding citizens, thoughtful authors or artists we honor today” Bergmanis said. “But the most important similarity is that all these students realize that to make the world a better place, you must act. And at such a young age, they have all already worked to make each of their corners of the world a better place.”

Fifteen high school seniors were recognized as outstanding citizens for demonstrating academic competence in government and civics courses, exceptional participation in civics and government related extracurricular activities, and performing exemplary community service.

Nina McKee, from South Callaway R-2 School District, said that the process was a nice fit for her as she prepares to enter the Law Scholars program at the University of Missouri. “I eventually want to go into politics,” McKee said. “It really just tied together with my future goals.”

The Outstanding Citizenship Program is a joint project of The Missouri Bar and DESE. The Missouri Legislature established the Outstanding Citizenship Award in 1990. DESE conducts the awards competition with assistance and financial support from The Missouri Bar.

Also at the luncheon, The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section and the Missouri NEA presented nine students in grades five through 12 with the Law Day Essay Contest awards. The winners were selected from 186 entries, depicting this year’s theme, “Miranda: More than words.” 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s decisions in one of the most well-known cases in American history—Miranda. v. Arizona. Competing students were asked to explain why is it important for people who are being questioned by police to have their Miranda Rights read to them and why they have a right to have a lawyer present when being questioned by police. The contest is in celebration of Law Day, May 1, and is held annually to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the law and the legal system among students.

The essay was an opportunity for students to hone their researching skills, as well. “I didn’t realize that [Miranda Rights] started because of the Miranda v. Arizona case, so it was interesting to learn about that case,” said Anusha Chakraborty, a Springfield School District student who placed third in the competition. “My favorite part was looking up the stuff because I enjoy reading articles on history.”

Joining the celebration were another group of students whose talents shine in the area of creativity. Seven young artists, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, received the Law Day Art Contest awards from the Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section.

The contest was created by The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program and sponsored by The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section. The art theme for this year was “Celebrating the 240th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.” The winning artwork depicts colonists sending King George of England the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and the important ideals found in the Declaration of Independence.

Nathan Estes, first-place winner and Summersville School District student said the competition was a chance to try something new. “The project was very fun to do,” Estes said. “I did learn something. I figured Thomas Jefferson had just gray hair, but he actually had blonde hair.”

The winners of the 2016 Outstanding Citizens Awards are:

Olivia Barr, Blue Springs School District

Maxx Cook, Cass R-9 School District

Haley DeVries, North Kansas City School District

Dallas Elliston, Carl Junction R-1 School District

Samuel Johnson, Clearwater R-1 School District

Haley Koch, Windsor C-1 School District

Helen Kaul, Webster Groves School District

Jonghae Lee, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

Nina McKee, South Callaway R-2 School District

Bridget Neff, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

Rikki Pierre-Canel, Hickman Mills Consolidated School District #1

Rasika Sant, Ladue School District

Chris Troupe, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District

Haley Watson, Jefferson City School District

Kurtis Weatherford, Parkway School District

The winners of the 2016 Law Day Essay Contest are:

Grades 4-5

1st Place Evelyn Di Genova Rockwood School District
2nd Place Lauren Badolato Eldorado Springs School District
3rd Place Elana Hadi Springfield School District

Grades 6 – 8

1st Place Morgan Pettlon Maryville School District
2nd Place Macken Hadi Springfield School District
3rd Place Anusha Chakraborty Springfield School District

Grades 10 – 12

1st Place Taylor Diggs Hickman Mills Consolidated School District
2nd Place Tristan Frazier Lathrop R-2
3rd Place Sydney Labruyere Jefferson R-7

The winners of the 2016 Law Day Art Contest are:

Grades K – 2

1st Place Lizzie Traub Jamestown C-1
2nd Place Brayden Schoentahl Jamestown C-1
3rd Place (tie) Myles Adams

Ethan Schoenthal

St. Joseph School District

Jamestown C-1

Grades 3 – 5

1st Place Nathan Estes Summersville School District
2nd Place Brooklyn Adams St. Joseph School District
3rd Place Morgan Koch Montgomery County R-2


The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing lawyers. The Missouri Bar provides a wide range of services and resources to its members, as well as the media, educators and the citizens of Missouri. To learn more about The Missouri Bar, visit and

View the award luncheon’s photo album here:

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