Students to attend Law Day

Community CorrespondentApril 29, 2014 

Eighth grade students from Oak Creek Intermediate and Wasuma Elementary schools will attend the second annual Law Day Yosemite Friday in Yosemite Valley.

The 10 a.m. event, to celebrate the Rule of Law and its contributions to the rights and freedoms all Americans enjoy, is co-sponsored by the U.S. District Court and the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. The Rule of Law will be specially commemorated at the foot of majestic Yosemite Falls on the playground of Yosemite Valley Elementary School. In addition to Oak Creek and Wasuma, about 250 other eight graders from schools in Yosemite gateways communities will attended the event.

"I hope the students who participate come to appreciate how important the Rule of Law is to their lives," said United States Magistrate Judge Michael Seng who with others envisioned such a day to celebrate the Rule of Law and its contributions to the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Americans.

A discussion on the Rule of Law can be found on the American Bar Association website (

About 60 seventh and eighth graders from Wasuma will attend the event.

"They will get education in a different format ... they'll tend to remember it more," said Larissa Bond, who teaches English and Social Science as well as enrichment classes at Wasuma Elementary School.

About 70 students from Oak Creek Intermediate school will be making the trip to Yosemite Valley. Working with her own concept and with input from others, Holly Powell, a 2008 Yosemite High School graduate now living and working in Yosemite, used water colors and ink to create the painting used as the basis for the logo for the event.

"The painting features Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and Washington Column, as well as, Basket Dome and North Dome from a unique perspective," said Powell. "It's actually a view looking up Tenaya Canyon." The logo has been used on posters and on lapel pins to be presented to participants at the event Friday.

"My grandmother, Judy Durr, used her eye to perfect it," said Powell. "She is familiar as a local silk artist whose work has been a part of the Sierra Art Trails for several years."

This year's Law Day Yosemite celebration will focus on the 150 Anniversary of the the Yosemite Land Grant of 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of a civil war tearing at the seams of the nation, had the vision to sign the Yosemite Grant Act which established Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as the first protected wild land to be preserved for all time.

The eighth grade students have been invited to enter an essay contest explaining the significance of the Grant Act of 1864 to our country and citizens. Successful essays will address why legislation was necessary to protect places like Yosemite Valley — what might Yosemite be today without such protections, why national parks are important to America and how we might inspire future generations to support the idea born of the Yosemite Grant Act.

Teachers from participating schools selected the top three essay entries from each of the schools. Three independent judges will decide on the overall top three essays. The student with the top essay will be awarded an iPad mini, the second place winner an iPad touch, and the third place winner an iPad nano.

Winners of the essay contest will be announced and awards given at the Law Day Yosemite celebration.

Details: Carol Moses, (559) 449-906,

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