The State Bar announced the winners of the annual Law Day essay, photography, and poster contests this month.

Each year, Law Day is celebrated nationally on May 1 to honor the rule of law and underscore how law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share. It provides an opportunity to recognize the role of courts in this democracy and the importance of jury service to maintaining the integrity of the courts.

This year’s theme is “The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy,” which aims to highlight how the amendment has reshaped law and society through its Citizenship, Due Process, and Equal Protection clauses.

The winners of the State Bar contests, who based their work on the theme, will be recognized at the Texas Law Center May 1.

Here is an excerpt of the essay of first-place winner, Jun-Yong Kim of Seven Lakes High School, representing the Katy Bar Association:

Monsters of My American Dream

By Jun-Yong Kim

My boogeyman didn’t come from my closet with four flailing arms—it came from school in the form of twenty-six letters.

After moving to the United States from South Korea, I sat helpless in classrooms with my limited arsenal of words as the beast of the English alphabet overwhelmed me. I watched my peers laugh and yell while I was spoon-fed the American Dream in an unintelligible language.

From the beginning, our country has clashed when interpreting what the 14th Amendment truly guarantees. We’ve vacillated in ideology, from Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown v. Board of Education. But when it comes to parity in schools, it’s not so much about who’s right, but rather, who’s left. Without the 14th Amendment, millions in the United States would be left not only without proper rights, but more importantly the opportunity to thrive. Sure, the pursuit of equality is far from easy. But the United States is America because it chooses not what’s easy, but what’s best.

Peruse the rest of Kim’s essay, the other winning entries, and the top photographs and posters at