Olivia Brcka, Hailey Beatty, and Gretchen Guetzlaff from Clear Lake High School were finalists in the Iowa State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division “Know Your Constitution” Project. One hundred finalists were selected from the more than 1,000 students across the State of Iowa who participated in the “Know Your Constitution” Project. These finalists were honored at a luncheon held at the West Des Moines Marriott on January 13, 2020. This year’s Keynote Speaker was The Honorable Justice Christopher McDonald of the Iowa Supreme Court.
The Know Your Constitution committee of lawyers choose the top ten essays written by students and recognizes these along with the top essay. Olivia Brcka’s essay was recognized in the top ten essays out of the 1,000 submitted.
Hailey Beatty was selected from the finalists as one of five students and their teachers, chosen by a random drawing, to attend the all-expense-paid, Close-Up Foundation’s five-day-long education work session in Washington D.C. in February of this year. The work sessions are organized to develop a deeper understanding of the government and the political process.
The “Know Your Constitution” Project is designed to enrich students’ understanding and appreciation of the Constitution. The students participating in the project were required to familiarize themselves with Constitution related issues. A quiz was completed by each participating student, and an essay question accompanied the quiz in case of a tie. This year’s essay topic involved Constitutional questions centered on a restrictive student dress code at a public high school. Students were asked to consider the nature of the First Amendment as it relates to student conduct.
Prior to the luncheon on January 13, the student finalists had the opportunity to hear from and interact with a constitutional expert to discuss the essay topic and recent developments and rulings.
This program is sponsored by The Iowa State Bar Association, with additional funding from the Iowa State Bar Foundation, and many of the county Bar Associations across Iowa.