McDowell County Celebrates Law Day

MCDOWELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WOAY) – McDowell County hosted their annual Law Day celebration with a visit from Justice John Hutchison.

“These children had to think about what they were doing and they actually had to focus on their project,” said Hutchison. “Be it the poster, be it the essay or the songs, they actually had to focus and hopefully, by focusing on that, they realize exactly what it means [and how it impacts] them.” 

This year’s theme was free speech, free press and free society. Although he was the one with the keynote speech, Hutchison was impressed with what the young students had to say.

Students from elementary school through high school submitted posters, essays, presentations and even songs for the contests. Various students achieved honorable mention, but judges only selected a few for first, second and third prizes.

“My favorite part is…giving out the awards,” said Judge Booker Stephens. “[I like] to see the hard work they put into it and know how teachers have encouraged them and supported them to do these projects.”

The celebration will be Stephens’s final year as a major organizer for the event. Stephens plans to retire in late May.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at