Students at William & Mary Law School set aside their studies for a little while on Friday, Nov. 21, to participate in the 14th annual Thanksgiving Basket Competition sponsored by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). Each year just before Thanksgiving, first-year students representing sections of the Legal Practice Program compete by creating displays from a wide variety of canned and boxed foods. The sections compete to create the most inspired displays and greatest quantity of food collected. This year's spirited competition resulted in the collection of 4,114 canned and boxed food items and coupons for 12 turkeys, all donated to local people in need.
The entries were arrayed in the school's entrance hall and were judged in three categories: Best Content, Most Creative, and Judges' Choice. This year's judges were Vice Dean Laura Heymann, Professor Paul Marcus and, representing the Dean's Office, Cassi Fritzius and Gloria Todd. Recognitions were given to Section 11 for Best Content, Section 4 for Most Creative, and Section 7 for Judges' Choice.
BLSA created the Thanksgiving Basket Competition as an initiative to serve the local community. "It truly is a 'Team Marshall-Wythe Law School' effort that very much represents what the citizen-lawyer concept looks like in practice," said Kendall Kemelek J.D. '16, BLSA Community Service Chair. "This year's competition followed the same tradition as all other years: food, fun, and service. The more food we bring in, the more fun we have, and the benefit to the outlying community compounds."
To add to the event's success each year, BLSA solicits donations from local grocery stores and works hand-in-hand with Campus Kitchens, which assists in picking up the food and distributing it to people in need in the community.
This year, the school's Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic also hosted a food drive to collect holiday food items for the family of a local veteran.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.