Framingham Online News

High School Essay Contest

Filed under: Schools & Education by News Staff at 2:33 am on February 19, 2006

MASSACHUSETTS - In an effort to encourage high school students to learn more about the contributions of John Adams and the Massachusetts Constitution to strengthening the rule of law, the Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Department of Education today announced the launch of the 2006 Supreme Judicial Court High School Essay Contest.

Massachusetts students in grades nine through twelve are eligible to enter the essay contest through their schools, in accordance with the contest rules. Letters and contest materials recently were sent to every public and private high school in the state, as well as to home school organizations.

The essay question this year concerns the separation of powers among the three branches of government and was designed to be compatible with the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework on which the History and Social Science Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is based.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall said, “I am delighted that students will have an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the fundamental principles of our constitutional democracy through their own creative expression. Learning about the separation of powers and the rule of law deepens one’s appreciation of our Massachusetts and federal constitutions and the genius of John Adams and the other framers.”

The essay contest question and rules can be found on the Court’s new Education Resource Center website. The website, designed for teachers and students, contains information on the Massachusetts court system, the Massachusetts Constitution, and the judicial branch of government. It also has an Electronic Resource Guide with useful links to numerous other law related education sites on various topics.

Massachusetts Department of Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said, “It is with great honor that we at the Department of Education co-sponsor this initiative with the Supreme Judicial Court. The importance of understanding the history of our legal and constitutional democracy and the contributions of people like John Adams who shaped it cannot be understated. These studies are also a major part of the learning standards in the Massachusetts History and Social Studies Curriculum Framework and this is a great opportunity for students in the Commonwealth to demonstrate their mastery of these standards.”

The panel of judges includes representatives from the Supreme Judicial Court, Appeals Court, Social Law Library, and the Massachusetts Department of Education. Savings bond awards will be presented to the top three students with the winning essays. There will also be an honorable mention award. The first prize winner will also receive a visit to his or her classroom from a Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. Winning essays will be prominently displayed in the John Adams Courthouse. Electronic copies of the winning essays and other outstanding essays will be posted, with permission from the students and the schools, on the John Adams Courthouse Education Resource Center website. The winning essays will be announced on Law Day, May 1.

This is the second year that the Supreme Judicial Court has sponsored a High School Essay Contest, following the successful launch of the first essay contest held last year in connection with Law Day.

For more info, contact Joan Kenney/Charlotte Whiting, Tel: (617) 557-1114,


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