Nevada County Bar announces essay winners |

Nevada County Bar announces essay winners

The Nevada County Bar Association announced the winners of its High School Student Essay Contest this week. They will be recognized at the annual awards dinner tonight. Retiring Superior Court Judge Sean P. Dowling will provide keynote remarks.

The winners are Hannah Babe from Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning, Grace Baker from Nevada Union High School and Gabrielle Rinne from Truckee High School. Honorable mention awards will be given to Hannah Oitzman and Aidan Ginn from Ghidotti High School, Ryan Brott from Nevada Union High School, Mia Belluomini and Aiden Keller from Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning.

The first, second and third place winners will be announced at the dinner. They will receive scholarships of $1,000, $500 and $250, respectively.

The dinner will be at the Holbrooke Hotel beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. The event will honor local high school students for excellence in writing on the legal topic ”American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.”

The annual essay contest for high school students began in 1978, when local lawyer Ray Shine and English teacher Mike Blake decided to create an event that would recognize academic excellence at the high schools with a trophy for best essay.

From the beginning the Nevada County Bar Association sponsored the event by organizing a banquet to honor the best writers at local high schools and to reward academic excellence, first with U.S. Savings Bonds and later with scholarship money donated by the Bar. Over the years, the event evolved but local attorneys and judges have always gathered each year to recognize the essay efforts of high school students and to promote public discussion of important legal concepts.

For 2014, the Bar has linked the youth awards with the retirement dinner for Judge Sean P. Dowling, who will provide keynote remarks. The Bar is honoring Judge Dowling for his 17 years of service as a Nevada County Judicial Officer. He began his Nevada County legal career in 1975, the same year he joined other local lawyers to co-found and incorporate Nevada County Legal Assistance, Inc. (now known as Northern California Lawyer Access, Inc.)

He began his judicial career as the first ever Commissioner of the Nevada County Superior Court in October 1997, taking on various family law and other assignments in Truckee and Sierra County. In that position he established the Annual Family Law Update for the local bar, which continues to this day. He was appointed to the bench as a Superior Court Judge in August, 2005 and he served as the Presiding Judge from 2007-2010.

Local lawyers, judges, and other members of the legal community will be attending the dinner along with parents of the Essay Contest winners.

Attendance is open to the public, but seating is limited. Cost for the evening including a buffet dinner is $50 per person. Advance reservation and payment is required. For information or tickets promptly call: 530- 272-7207 or email to

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