Newton Senior High School seniors Britney Samuelson and Samantha Schwarz were honored Friday, Jan. 11, at an awards luncheon in West Des Moines sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of the Iowa State Bar Association.
Both Samuelson and Schwarz completed a 50-question quiz about the United States Constitution and wrote an essay about whether the federal government can withhold funds for education from states if they do not comply with affirmative action mandates. Also at issue was a school principal’s right to discipline a student for online behavior that was offensive to other students.
Samuelson was honored for the third year in a row as a finalist in the competition. She has placed as the top participant for House District 29 (most of Jasper County) for last two years. She moved to Monroe over the summer, and this year she won the top spot for House District 28 (Monroe, Knoxville, Pleasantville). Schwarz placed as the top participant in House District 29 this year.
Samuelson and Schwarz and their sponsor, NHS teacher Margaret Caldwell, attended a lecture about the history and significance of the U.S. Constitution presented by Drake University Law School Professor Anthony Gaughan; an expert in Constitutional Law. They also listened to the Honorable Judge Stephanie Rose, a journalism major in college who was recently appointed by President Obama to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. Judge Rose spoke about individual freedoms granted by the First Amendment here in United States but are in short supply in many other locations around the world such as Syria, Somalia and Mexico.