We are pleased to announce that Jillian Richardson, a recent graduate of Wakulla High School, has become the eighteenth recipient of our firm’s annual freedom scholarship essay contest.  Each year, our essay contest has grown more popular with students throughout Leon, Wakulla, Gadsden and Jefferson counties. In an effort to promote education and awareness of American liberties, we invite high school juniors and seniors to submit essays on “The Bill of Rights: What they mean to me as an American.” The winning contestant, chosen by a celebrity panel of judges, is awarded $2,500 to assist with their future educational expenses. To date, we have awarded $45,000 to our Freedom Scholarship winners.

Our esteemed judges this year included the Honorable Lori Rowe, Judge, First District Court of Appeal; the Honorable Suzanne Van Wyk, Administrative Law Judge and Candidate for Leon County Judge Seat 3; and David Frank, Judicial Candidate for the Second Judicial Circuit Group 12.  After the scores were calculated, the judges selected Jillian Richardson as the winner of the 2018 Freedom Scholarship. Jillian accepted her award and scholarship check at our offices and was accompanied by her mother, Nancy, who teaches English at SAIL. Jillian will be attending the University of Florida in the fall and is planning on studying astrophysics.  She hopes to use her talents for research and educational purposes. While in high school, Jillian played the flute in band and worked twenty hours a week at the famous Myra Jean’s Restaurant in Crawfordville. She was also President and one of the founding members of the Educational Enrichment Council of Wakulla County which has raised over $16,000 for charities in her community.  As stated in her winning essay, Jillian reveres the First Amendment, which provides a simple, yet effective path for citizens to redress their grievances and to participate in democracy. She acknowledges that as someone born in this country, it can be difficult to imagine what life would be like without these rights, but by studying history and current examples of other systems in the world, she appreciates the wisdom of our founding fathers who crafted the Bill of Rights.  Jillian credits the First Amendment as being integral to her sense of what it means for her to be an American. We wish Jillian and her family all the best and we have no doubt that Jillian has a very bright future ahead of her.

Applications for our 2018 Freedom Scholarship essay will be distributed early next year.  If you would like more information about the scholarship, please visit our website.