Tennessee Bar Association President and Chattanooga lawyer Sam D. Elliott has announced the association's first ever YouTube video contest to encourage middle and high school students to explore the state's rich legal history.
Titled "Tennessee's Unique History of Law and Liberty," the contest challenges students to create a three-minute video that tells the story of an event, circumstance or person that illustrates a way in which the Tennessee constitution or legal system has played an important part in the state's history.
Mr. Elliott, who is known for his scholarly study of Tennessee in the Civil War era, has made civics education a focus of his year in office.
In announcing the contest, he said, "One of the great dangers to our liberty is that a large segment of the public lacks comprehension of the structure of our government. By means of this video contest, the TBA wants to encourage students to gain understanding about our system, our state and its history in a fun and cutting-edge way."
Students will compete for cash prizes for themselves and their sponsoring organizations. For middle school students, prize amounts are $250 for first place, $125 for second place and $75 for third place. For high school students, prize amounts are $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place.
In addition, the two first place winners will have their videos shown to leaders of the state's legal community at the TBA's 2011 Convention in Chattanooga next June.
The sponsoring organizations of the two first place winners also will receive a cash prize of $500.
The contest is open to individual students or groups of students from any Tennessee high school, middle school or home school. Entries must be submitted by Jan. 14, 2011, and winners will be announced in conjunction with Law Day on May 2, 2011.