State Law Day Essay Finalists

Meramec Valley School District Odyssey coordinator Nancy Thater introduced three students at the May 16 school board meeting who had been finalists in the State Law Day essay contest. From left are Mike Wells, school board member; Cole Sutterer, fifth-grade category; Katherine Thrasher, high school category; Nathan Bruns, high school category; Nancy Thater, Odyssey coordinator; Ed Groom, school board member; and Linda Pahl, Zitzman Elementary principal.

Katherine Thrasher remembers being in a courtroom when she was 4 years old. The men and women in the courtroom, who were dressed in dark suits and spoke big words and phrases, appeared to be doing serious and important work. It was exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up.

Having just completed her freshman year at Pacific High, Thrasher still dreams of being a lawyer. Since that shiny day when she was 4, she has built up arguments in her mind that position the men and women who sit on judicial benches as being every bit as important in our nation’s quest for freedom as the men and women who put on uniforms and die in battle.

Americans would not be free without our wonderful system of laws and judges are the bulwark of that system, Thrasher says. They keep us grounded and on course.

That was the basis of an essay that won Thrasher second place in the 2012 Law Day essay contest hosted by the Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section.

Thrasher was one of three MVR-III students who were among the winners in this year’s competition. Nathan Bruns was a state finalist in the grades nine to 12 category.

Zitzman Elementary School fifth-grader Cole Sutterer won second place in the grades four to five category, making him the youngest MVR-III student in anyone’s memory to be a finalist in the contest.

Like Thrasher, he received a $200 savings bond and plaque recognizing his accomplishment.

There were 349 entries from 22 schools in three categories, grades four to five, grades six to eight and grades nine to 12.

“No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom” was the theme of the 2012 contest.

The winners were invited to attend the May 11 Missouri Bar Spring Committee luncheon to receive their savings bond and a plaques.

The contest was not Thrasher’s first attempt at explaining to the Missouri Bar Young Lawyers why she believes lawyers and the law are vital to American freedom. She won third place in the competition in 2011.

Thrasher is one of 18 Pacific High School students who have won awards in the annual competition since 2003.

In 2011 Sarah Doell and Steven Skaggs were state finalists. In 2010 Carly Goodwin and Kelsey Milburn were state finalists.

In 2009, Courtney Walter’s essay took first place and Shanna McCoy’s arguments captured second, while Ashley Bullock, Tim George and Emily O’Loughlin were state finalists.

In 2008 Liana Mosher wrote an essay that took second place while Meredith Muehler captured third.

In 2006 Dan Linn was a state finalist. In 2005 an essay by Maria Romano won first place while Andrew Thiemann’s arguments won second place.

Jordan Agee captured second place in 2004 and Rich Shebish was a state finalist in 2003.