High school students and law professionals gathered in the Yorktowne Hotel Thursday to recognize their accomplishments at the annual York County Bar Foundation's Law Day luncheon.

In the lavish Continental Room, with chandeliers and ruffled burgundy curtains, they sipped from glasses as servers flitted in and out with stacks of plates and pitchers of fresh water. The theme for the event was "Realizing the Dream Equality for All."

The luncheon took a turn for the scholarly when featured presenter Peter Levy stepped up to a podium and spoke.

Levy, a York College history and political science professor, spoke of the civil rights movement of the  '50s and  '60s, as well as the history of American democracy. As he finished his remarks, leading into the awards ceremony, an air of pride settled on the large crowd.

Robert Woods, executive director of the county's United Way, then stepped up to receive the Liberty Bell

Award, which honors a non-attorney volunteer in the York community who encourages others to respect the legal system.

He said he was honored and humbled by the award, adding that the country still has much to do in order to provide justice for all.

"And hopefully we can do that in York County," he said.

The winners of the 35th annual essay contest were also announced, as well as the first- and second-place mock trial teams, who received medals and certificates for their success.

The luncheon and programs were organized by a committee of the foundation.

Top mock trial teams in the county:


First place: York Catholic High School -- team members Katherine Andrews, Lindsey China, Katarina DeFelice, Emily Schoettler, Anna Spoden, Annie Stover, Cody Stubbs and Erika Zarfoss; and coaches Deborah Hess and Jeffrey F. Boyles

Second place: Spring Grove Area High School -- team members Imran Chaudhry, Kaitlyn Colen, Anika Coolbaugh, Nicholas Ensminger, Sarah Erlemeier, Abie Hinson, Jackie Maurer, Lexi Seaman, Shelby Spencer and Becky Wiest; and coaches Jason Baker and Joshua Neiderhiser

Essay contest winners:

First place: Kristen Webster, Red Lion Area High School, Grade 12

Second place: Emma Woodward, Central York High School, Grade 10

Third place: Megan Chubb, West York Area High School, Grade 11

Honorable mention: Alexandre Campbell, Northern York High School, Grade 12