Thursday, June 27, 2013
Local attorney Larry Kobrovsky and the Moultrie News are proud to announce the winners of our annual First Amendment Essay Contest.
This year’s topic was the meaning of the First Amendment’s “Freedom of Religion” clause.
At a time when conflicts between different religious beliefs and non-beliefs are at the heart of nearly every major political issue, the Moultrie News wanted to know what its readers and local students think about the meaning of the First Amendment, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
After winning a federal lawsuit based on the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, longtime attorney Larry Kobrovsky wanted to make people more aware of the language of the Constitution, so he began a community-wide essay contest.
Most people think the First Amendment contains a separation of church and state clause, Kobrovsky pointed out, when in fact that concept comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote after the First Amendment was enacted. Misconceptions like this one are what Kobrovsky hopes to fix. “I’m convinced that the Constitution is the foundation of our way of life and why we’re exceptional,” he said.
Special to the contest this year was the addition of a featured judge. Gene Tumbleston, a former prisoner of war during the Korean conflict. With the help of his daughter Joanne Jarman, Tumbleston joined the Moultrie News staff in picking the winners. He is an 81-year-old Mount Pleasant resident. Tumbleston is just one of many POW’s who live among us in the Lowcountry. He is an unassuming man - not one to seek attention for his service to the United States and was included this year as a way to commemorate his service.
“This year’s program was very special to me,” said Kobrovsky. “I just returned from two weeks visiting the villages my mother and father’s family came from in Lithuania and in what is now Belarus. This entire area was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the 1500s to 1795 when was it taken over by Russia.
It was part of the Russian Empire until the end of the First World War in 1918,” he said.
Jody Stallings, a Moultrie Middle School teacher, was awarded $250 for having the most student participation.
Preston Manning, a Bishop England High School student, won first place in the high school division and received $250.
Sydney Memminger, a Charleston Charter School for Math and Science student, won second place in the high school division and received $100.
Roark Corson, a student at Buist Academy for Advanced Studies, won first place in the middle school division and received $100.
Karly Fitch, a Cario Middle School student, won second place in the middle school division and received $50.
Cindy Lee of the Isle of Palms was the adult essay winner and received $250.
Each winner also received a copy of the United States Constitution.
Read their essays online at www.MoultrieNews.com