News and Information
May 25, 2011

Chesapeake Student Takes First Place in Virginia State Bar Essay Competition


Thomas Park Beaver, a senior at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, has won first place in the 2011 Law in Society http://www.vsb.org/site/public/law-in-society/ essay competition cosponsored by the Virginia State Bar’s Litigation Section and Communications Committee. Beaver plans to attend the University of Virginia.

Tom Beaver

He won for his essay that addressed the topic “Religious Center Proposed: Do Restrictions Discriminate?” Titled “Liberty and Sensitivity: The First Amendment in the Post-9/11 World,” the essay contrasts the circumstances of a proposed march by neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, in 1977 with the essay’s hypothetical that a community imposes unusual restrictions on construction of a Mosque near the Pentagon after the 2011 terrorist attacks. Beaver’s essay can be read here: http://www.vsb.org/site/public/2011-winning-essay

The Law in Society competition was developed in 1993 to increase appreciation for the U.S. Constitution and legal system. Beaver’s essay was one of 175 entries from forty-seven Virginia high schools, including two homeschooled students. Beaver will receive a $2,300 cash prize, to be awarded at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in June. All contest winners will receive Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and a framed certificate.

Peter Michael Burham of Freedom High School in South Riding was awarded $1,850 for second place, and Rita Zevallos of West Springfield High School in Springfield received the $1,350 third-place award. Honorable mention prizes of $250 were awarded to Joseph Forrest Bibeau of Grafton High School in Yorktown; Chelsea Lauren Stephens, a homeschool student in Springfield; Emily Pauline Satterwhite of Goochland High School in Goochland; Cori Anne Bedois of Landstown High School in Virginia Beach; and Robert Scott Burnham of Freedom High School in South Riding.

Updated: Jun 08, 2011