High school students earn top honors in statewide finals of 2016 Constitution Project

16 November 2016

High school students earn top honors in statewide finals of 2016 Constitution Project

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Supreme Court of Missouri has recognized the winners of the 2016 statewide finals of Missouri’s Constitution Project, an intensive, experiential competition in which high school students gain experience in the fields of journalism, crime scene investigation and trial advocacy. Individuals from six schools earned awards in this statewide competition, now in its fourth year, that is sponsored by the Court’s civic education committee.

“We are so proud of you,” Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge told the students during the closing ceremonies, held Wednesday, November 9 at the Supreme Court Building in Jefferson City. “During the last few weeks, you had the opportunity to put the principles of our constitution into practice. … We can learn to value the constitution by experiencing it and learning how it works in everyday life to protect our rights and preserve our way of life. … In this nation, you have the freedom to be and do whatever you desire. Don’t set limits on yourselves. You are all so talented and bright that truly anything is possible for you, as you have demonstrated through your work on the Supreme Court’s Constitution Project.”

Breckenridge was joined at the ceremony by Judge Lisa Page, a judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and civic education committee chair; Army Staff Sergeant Robert Canine; Missouri VFW Commander Christopher Johnston; and Missouri VFW Adjutant and Quartermaster Jessie Jones. The ceremony was the culmination of a rigorous daylong competition involving more than 60 students representing 12 schools who advanced from regional competitions to compete in the finals in Jefferson City.

Individual and team honors were given in three categories: First Amendment awards, recognizing journalists; Fifth Amendment awards, recognizing crime scene investigators; and Sixth Amendment awards, recognizing trial advocates. Individual award winners also received scholarships.

Journalism winners:
  • The First Amendment Award for outstanding performance, which included a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the Missouri Broadcasters Association and the Missouri Press Association, was won by Cade Winfrey of Lebanon High School in Lebanon.
  • The First Amendment Award for outstanding achievement, which included a $500 scholarship sponsored by the VFW, was presented to Leah Otte of Houston High School in Houston.
  • The First Amendment Team Award was presented to the journalism team from Houston High School.

Crime scene investigation winners:
  • The Fifth Amendment Award for outstanding performance, which included a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the Missouri Sheriffs Association and Missouri Police Chiefs Association, was won by Sperry Storm of Fulton High School in Fulton. Cape Girardeau Police Chief Wes Blair helped make the presentation on behalf of the police chiefs association, for which he is a vice president.
  • The Fifth Amendment Award for outstanding achievement, which included a $500 scholarship sponsored by the VFW, was presented to Donjayla Jenkins of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School in St. Louis.
  • The Fifth Amendment Team Award was presented to the crime scene investigation team from Lebanon High School.

Trial advocacy winners:
  • The Sixth Amendment Award for outstanding performance, which included a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, was won by Karina Bratkov of Nixa High School in Nixa.
  • The Sixth Amendment Award for outstanding achievement, which included a $500 scholarship sponsored by the VFW, was presented to Jaylin Shelton of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School.
  • The Sixth Amendment Team Award was presented to the trial advocacy team from Lebanon High School.

Several special awards also were presented. The first was the Scout Award, named for the young heroine of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and given in recognition for a student’s exceptional diligence in seeking truth, justice and freedom. The award was won by Brianna Hamilton of the Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School journalism team.

The Patriot’s Heart Award – given to memorialize Vietnam hero Willie McVae, who gave his life for his fellow soldiers and to preserve our ongoing freedoms – was presented by McVae’s friend and comrade, Don Hentges, to Jacob Collins of the Lebanon High School trial advocacy team. The Constitution Creation Award, recognizing the best video created by students to help demonstrate the meaning of the constitution in their lives, was presented to the Lebanon High School constitution creation team.

The Witherspoon Award, in recognition of an outstanding teacher or mentor, was won by Clarence Hines, a school resource officer from North Technical High School in Florissant. A retired detective sergeant with the St. Louis police department who earned 15 commendations for excellence in law enforcement, Hines was recognized for his leadership in coaching his school’s Constitution Project team and in mentoring several crime scene investigation team members to this year’s All-Star Team.

In a ceremony that included members of the armed services and veterans, each of the 12 schools involved in this year’s Constitution Project was presented with a United States flag that has flown over Missouri’s capitol building in Jefferson City.

Finally, a traveling “Freedom Cup” was earned by the grand champion, Lebanon High School. This is the first time the school has competed in the Constitution Project, a statewide competition sponsored by the Supreme Court’s civic education committee.

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2016 Freedom Cup champions Lebanon High School
Competitors from Lebanon High School celebrate their Freedom Cup win with Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge.

Cade Winfrey receives 1st Amendment Award
 Cade Winfrey of Lebanon High School receives First Amendment Award from Judge Lisa Page
mm Leah Otte of Houston HS receives Journalism Achievement Award from Judge Lisa Page
 Leah Otte of Houston High School receives Journalism Achievement Award from Judge Lisa Page
 m    
 Houston High School receives First Amendment Team Award
Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge presents First Amendment Team Award to Houston High School
   Sperry Storm of Fulton High School receives Fifth Amendment Award
Sperry Storm of Houston High School receives Fifth Amendment Award from Cape Girardeau Police Chief Wes Blair and Judge Lisa Page
 m    
 Donjayla Jenkins of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School receives Crime Scene Investigation Achievement Award from Judge Lisa Page
Donjayla Jenkins of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School receives Crime Scene Investigation Achievement Award from Judge Lisa Page
   Lebanon High School receives Fifth Amendment Team Award from Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge
Lebanon High School receives the Fifth Amendment Team Award from Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge
 m    
 Judge Lisa Page presents Sixth Amendment Award to Karina Bratkov of Nixa High School
Judge Lisa Page presents Sixth Amendment Award to Karina Bratkov of Nixa High School

   Jaylin Shelton of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School receives Trial Advocacy Achievement Award from Judge Lisa Page
Jaylin Shelton of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School receives Trial Advocacy Achievement Award from Judge Lisa Page
     m
 Lebanon High School receives Sixth Amendment Team Award from Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge
Lebanon High School receives Sixth Amendment Team Award from Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge
   Brianna Hamilton of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School receives Scout Award from Judge Lisa Page
Brianna Hamilton of Cardinal-Ritter Preparatory High School receives Scout Award from Judge Lisa Page
     m
 Jacob Collins of Lebanon High School receives the Patriot's Heart Award from Judge Lisa Page and Don Hentges
Jacob Collins of Lebanon High School receives the Patriot's Heart Award from Judge Lisa Page and Don Hentges
   Lebanon High School receives Constitution Creation Award from Judge Lisa Page
Lebanon High School receives Constitution Creation Award from Judge Lisa Page