Essay Contest – Win a $500 scholarship!

The Mininno Law Office has sponsored an essay contest this year for 20 area high schools.
The topic: “Why Plaintiff’s Trial Lawyers are Good for Society.” The winning entrant will receive a $500 scholarship courtesy of John Mininno, Esq.

We’ve received five intelligent, thought provoking, well-written essays. Now we need your help! Our judges are having trouble determining a winner. In order to assist them, we’d like you to tell us which essay is your favorite, and WHY! Perhaps one of our participants has an idea that you agree with? Perhaps one of our participants taught you something in their essay that you did not know?

Voting and commenting can continue until midnight April 30th. We appreciate your help, and to all of the participants, good luck!

Our entrants:

Scott Bass – West Deptford High School
Leyla Renee Wirtz – Bordentown Regional High School
Nia Holston – Timber Creek Regional High School
Jessica Dochney – Haddon Township High School
Albertine L. Shain – Bordentown Regional High School

46 thoughts on “Essay Contest – Win a $500 scholarship!”

  1. The rules state that the essay contest is open to all graduating seniors. One of the essays states 10th grade. Is this a mistake or have the rules been changed?

  2. to the person who left the last comment; please check the original letter that was sent on February 2, 2010 regarding this essay; it did not state that the essay was only for graduating seniors. we were advised by our school that this contest was open to all high school students. Please review that letter.

  3. good essay from a 10th grader. I also saw the letter dated February 2, 2010, it did not mention that it was open only to seniors.

  4. Hello all – When we envisioned this, I was thinking that it would only be naturlly be open to seniors since they would be the most likely to appy for a scholarship. But, like the law, it’s always open to interpretation and it appears that our letter did not specifically rule in or out anyone. Therefore, all excellent essays are eligible. We are watching the voting and it appears that it is a close race. Good luck to you all.

  5. I am very impressed with the voting so far. Looks like Mr. Bass has nearly 200 votes and Ms. Wirtz has about 50 less. Ms Holston, has an excellent essay but her votes are not quite there yet. Good luck to you all.

  6. Scott, you got this dog. We’re all pulling for you kid.

  7. I have to say, I really can’t understand why this scholarship is remaining open for non seniors. I understand that it was an error on the law firms part by not labeling it as open only for seniors but scholarships are normally only for seniors and the Wirtz family should know this instead of trying to begin their “college fund” early. Graduating seniors need this money a lot more then a sophomore would and the sophomore could take money away from a senior who could really use it. Especially in these troubling times when seniors really need all the help they can get to ensure their success in the future.

    Tell the sophomore to save that letter for two years down the road when It should actually count. Until then, good luck to the seniors running. You have my votes.

  8. to the last writer, actually underclassman are eligible to take college courses for credit, which this sophmore is preparing to do; she already has her classes scheduled for this July at Harvard University. Perhaps her family as well as ALSO feels the burden of these troubling times. What a effort for a sophmore to start her education fund early. Perhaps all students should take this into consideration as opposed to waiting until it is time to start college. single parents are not able to start college funds for their young children.


  9. an afterthought, perhaps we should allow the essays to speak for themselves as opposed to considering the age of the entrant or the wording of the original letter sent to all schools. I think it is very admirable for an underclassman to participate, especially when so few thought it was important enough to enter an essay.

  10. You know, it’s a real shame that applying for a scholarship has become a bashing session on the Internet. Instead of praising a young, hardworking student for their work, you come on here and feel it is necessary to put her down before you even know her family situation. Had she not put her grade on her essay, you would have never even known she was a sophomore, especially the way HER essay was written. I must say I have read each essay thoroughly and her essay is far superior and well organized. Also, I commend her, as a Sophomore, for taking the time to think of her family situation to apply for this scholarship and take the burden of college tuition off of her single mother. Not all of us are as fortunate to be able to set money aside for college. GREAT JOB LEYLA!! YOU ARE TRULY AN OUTSTANDING STUDENT AND INDIVIDUAL. To those out there, please do not take this matter into your own hands. Let the voting happen.

  11. Scott is a senior who will begin college in the fall who is also from a single family household. I think he has written an excellent essay that is very well researched and should speak for itself. Thank you all for your support. Just continue to vote.
    PS It’s a shame there was so much confusion regarding the age. The guidance office at West Deptford HS only gave the information to graduating seniors.

  12. I agree. All essays are very well constructed and all make very valid points. Let the voting continue and the essays speak for themselves rather than worrying about minor discrepencies. Good luck to all. Everyone deserves the highest praise for a job well done. Thank you 🙂

  13. Good for the law firm sticking to the original terms of the letter inviting students to participate.

  14. This is also not a forum to try to get votes because of someones “situation” No one commenting knows the situation of every student and what they have and haven’t saved. With our economy what it is there are very few “full rides” and even those that have saved find themselves coming up short. Working hard and applying for scholarships is something that the kids can do to help themselves. Most parents are finding that even if the child works hard, gets money from the school, gets a little aid, has a little savings there is still a gap to be bridged. The shame belongs on someone who feels they can comment on someone elses situation and what they have or haven’t done without having any knowledge of what the facts are. That is not an example I would want to set for any ot the talented children who have taken the time to write their essay. I am obviously rooting for my child. He wrote a good essay. There was confusion over the age because there was conflicting information including the webpage if you read it. That is unfortunate.

  15. I am sure the law firm will judge the essays equally, with no consideration to age, family situation, etc.

  16. So, I really believe that by the end of the month, Nia is going to sweep this contest. Somehow, every computer in the country will simultaneously cast their vote for her…….. Just a prediction.

  17. Great job to all 3 essay writers! Scott, awsome job & I’m rooting for you!!!!!!

  18. To all applicants: Great job and good luck!

    To those commenting: let’s remember that the contest is for students who are so committed to higher education that they’ve taken the time to write an 800 word essay. 20 schools were provided the same scholarship opportunity and only 3 students have replied so far- they should be praised and congratulated regardless of age, class year, and financial situation.

    Instead of leaving less than encouraging remarks, I urge you to vote for the essay you connect/agree with most.

  19. Thank you! Thank you to Mr. Mininno as well for offering this opportunity to our children. I hope that all this will not discourage you in future years. One suggestion for future years in addition to the obvious is maybe not opening the popular vote until after the submission deadline. Anyone entering now would really be at a disadvantage with all the votes that are already in.
    Thank you again.

  20. Hello – this is the last night for essay submissions. We received one more from a Ms. Dochhney which my Web person has not yet posted. It will be posted over the weekend and that will leave a few more days of voting. As for the senior v. sophmore issue. I again think it is best to keep it open to the best essay regardless of school year. All of the essays are great and I feel that if the voters find one that is more deserving than the other, that it should not matter what grade that person is in. Every person should be commended for their efforts.

  21. Hello All – I just learned that we have yet one more essay contestant. The essay was mailed and received yesterday but was postmarked BEFORE the deadline. We have not yet went through all the mail so that may be the last. That essay will be posted on the web today or tomorrow. Remember you can continue to vote up until Midnight April 30th. Good luck to you all.

  22. having read all five of the essays, I commend the effort of the high school students. I disagree with the petty debate about the age of the applicants and would like to see this more objectively. In this respect, I believe that Albertine Shain’s essay far surpasses the other four. Hers goes above and beyond the topic, applying a broad legal concept to her own experience. She pledges to uphold such tenants of justice as a career and expresses a personal interest in law. In expressing the value of prosecuting lawyers, she personally attests, instead of employing other stories. For this reason, I vote for Albertine Shain to receive the $500.00

  23. After reading all of these thoughtful essays, I’m particularly impressed with Albertine Shain’s. She applied the challenge to her own recent experiences. Her clear, organized prose is extremely convincing. It is refreshing to learn how meaningful mock trial was for this ambitious student. Her future plans stemming from this seminal experience make us all hopeful that this generation holds the key to peace and justice for all.

  24. I think all of the essays are good. I think Scott’s stands out because he researched the role of the trial attorney and it’s importance to society back to the founding fathers. He then goes on to state their importance today including information on someone he knows personally that was helped. He believes what he is saying and not just stating facts.

  25. After reading all the essays, I believe Albertine’s work is by far the best. Delicatly crafted, I believe she captured the true topic of the article, supported logically and factually. While it’s true the voting is left to the judges, immature comments from people’s parents only make the contestant seem as if their essay was written by the parent. Hm. Maybe the judges should read these comments and see how much Mommy wrote.

  26. I am so proud of all these children. Perhaps someday they should become partners in the most prestigious law firm around.

  27. I don’t see how I could have chosen which ones to read and *not* have read each essay. If I didn’t read all of them, I wouldn’t be able to cast a vote. I think my post implies that I voted for Albertine mainly because the other ones don’t really go outside the box. I’m not saying they’re bad; rather, I simply believe they are too fluffy and abstract.

  28. Hello All:

    Please remember that although this is an open forum, the comments section of this blog is limited to APPROPRIATE positive input and congratulations to the student you voted for. We think all the submissions are wonderful, and we’d like to hear why you believe a particular essay is great as well.

    Let’s give these students the praise they deserve and keep the less than encouraging remarks to ourselves.

  29. Having read each of these essays thoroughly, there is one essay that stands out in my mind. Four essayists wrote cohesive and well organized essays based on careful research about the good of prosecuting lawyers in society. Certainly, research is an important component of this task. However, to be truly informed about such an important topic, it is my opinion that one must apply it in their own lives. For this reason, Albertine’s essay stands apart. Not because of it’s organization or mechanics, but because she, unlike the other strong candidates, pledges to uphold such tenants of the American judicial system. In fact, she already has. This essay contest should not be a popularity contest. It is clear to me, that she has the deepest understanding of the issue and that she is interested in pursuing a career in law. For this reason, and in my opinion, she has earned the scholarship.

  30. Whitney, if these blossoming students are to become better writers, then they have to receive constructive criticism. The biggest problem that a writer can have is not getting enough criticism and intelligent feedback, not “this essay is great” or “this essay is bad”. Saying something negative is not bad, it is a useful tool. I think that all comments should be respected for what they can give to the students, Unless we plan on giving them unrealistic egos and making them incapable of receiving actual criticism, forcing them into a vicious cycle of being upset when they receive meaningful and useful critique, refusing to better their work, then making the same mistakes that cause their full writing potential to be unfulfilled.

    Furthermore, to pick a favorite, I had to analyze each essay accurately, and that required posting everything I thought about each one. You can’t pick a favorite by only judging one.

  31. I would like to reiterate my (deleted) support for the essay written by Albertine Shain. It is meaningful. It suggests that she has taken the concept of what she knows to be a good prosecutor and organized that into a plan for action. The author proves that they have a purpose, connects this purpose to that of all people, then illustrates how this purpose can be used to live an exemplary life.

  32. @ Austin- i have been following all of the comments of this forum and i must say i believe you are not quite getting the point of constructive criticism. i agree that you have made some valid points where improvement can be made on four of these essays. However, sometimes you seem to be a little extreme about what you are saying. Besides some grammatical mistakes, i believe that all four essays that you criticized meet the criterion of what this essay was supposed to be about. They completely answer the question given, with many examples and situations. i commend the writers for their research.
    Still, i must point out again that you only criticized FOUR of the essays, not all five. From your other comments, i know where your allegiance lies, but nobody is perfect. Albertine Shain’s essay isn’t perfect either. Everybody can improve. Therefore, i suggest if you will give constructive criticism, criticize all of the writers. I must say i have read Shain’s essay many times and i still cannot find any type of answer/thesis about the actual topic of this essay. I like her thought process of going “outside of the box”, but i believe it could have been more clear about why plaintiff’s trial lawyers are good for society. Please do not let personal relationship get in the way of criticism given because if i may take a guess on why you have not criticized Shain’s essay, i am sure closeness between the two of you is the reason why you are holding back further comments.
    All in all, i agree with what Whitney said. Keep the criticsm clean and somewhat friendly. we are not looking to hurt these writer’s self esteem. So, good luck to all of these essays. i am looking forward to seeing the outcome of the voting process.

  33. I think Scott’s essay is superb. I am not only saying this because we are very close friends, but the fact that he wrote an excellent essay. I am very proud of you Scott! I know you are going to win this. You really deserve it! 🙂 <3

  34. Emily, I am not bound to help any of the writers with my critique, let alone all of them. Perhaps my lack of criticizing Albertine’s work hinted that I care nothing about her well being, or that I have no interest in furthering her writing potential? Well, I certainly didn’t intend that when I was emphasizing her developed caliber among the successes of the four rising stars. For that, Albertine, I apologize, for I have failed to make you a better person. As much as I wish I could repent, I think Emily has said all that there is as far as improvements go. She has a point, but in my opinion, your approach has enough worth to overcome what she perceives to be flaws.

  35. As April 28 is coming to a close, it is evident that the standings, since the beginning of this competition, are not going to change. This blog was meant as an online forum for writing which essay one supports and why. I feel that many bloggers have misinterpreted this mission. I would like to thank the Minnino firm for making this opportunity available for high school students like myself. I would also like to implore the voters to really look at the merit of each essay. Because my essay was posted second to last, I was unable to be a really competitive candidate statistically in terms of voting, even though my essay was submitted on time. I am aware that this is worth only 50% of the final decision. If in the future the firm continue to provide this excellent opportunity, perhaps they could set a deadline and post all of the submissions at the same time. This way, the competition could be more fair for everyone and no applicant would have any advantage over any other applicant. I hope that the best essay, not the most “popular” wins. Thank you again.

  36. I liked Scotts essay the best because, it’s convincing and well thought out. I believe Scott went outside the box to prove his point of view. All the kids did a great job.

  37. They are all really good. I think the fact that Scott researched the importance of the trial lawyer back in history instead of just current examples makes it unique and a stand out.

  38. I can’t believe the amount of support each of you received for your great essays. I have left the judging up to Whitney and Anglea who urged me to run this scholarship contest. They are having a tough time deciding/grading each essay. We will post the winner some time on Monday. Good Luck to you all.

  39. I enjoyed reading the essay done by Scott Bass (twice!). It was well written and I believe that he paid attention to detail and in making sure that he expressed everything that was needed with is topic.I liked that he referred to the history with trial lawyers and did not take a few recent things and use those as examples.I am very proud of you Scott. Job well done to all the kids who turned in essays. It takes alot of courage to submit your hard work and take all of the constructive criticism, as well as the harsh words of some people, in order to better yourselves with this college scholarship. I hope that you all take the good things that came from this and leave the bad comments and petty bickering to be a thing of the past and never to be thought of again. Again, great job and good luck to everyone!

  40. Scott Bass really accomplished his task. I feel like I would be unamerican not to like trial lawyers!

  41. Congratulation to all, I’m sorry I didn’t know about this soon enough or else I would have voted. But who won?

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