Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee honors Elk Teens of the Year

April 28, 2017

Source: The Daily Post-Athenian

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee was the keynote speaker at this year’s McMinn County Youth Government Day luncheon that recognizes outstanding students and gives them the opportunity to spend time with county office holders and learn about local government.

"You are already leaders, and that's why you were chosen to be in this program," Lee told the students. "You've excelled already in your studies and in extracurricular activities, and you really are the future leaders of McMinn County, the state and, possibly, the country."

Lee shared the story of Niota native Harry T. Burn Sr., whose deciding vote in 1920 as a 24-year-old Republican member of the Tennessee General Assembly was enough to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Lee chose the story to illustrate how a single decision such as Burn's can accomplish something as important as establishing a woman's right to vote.

"Harry Burn had courage," said Lee. "He was a young leader, and he helped clear the way for historic change. I hope all of you get involved in our government and in your community in one way or another."

Lucy Harrill and Douglas Watts were selected as the 2017 Elks Teens of the Year. The two McMinn Central High School seniors, who were chosen from a field of worthy candidates, were honored with the annual prize during the Youth Government Day Luncheon at the Athens Elks Lodge, with the Elks being the longtime sponsor of both Youth Government Day and the Elks Teens of the Year.

McMinn County Schools Secondary Education Supervisor Dr. Phillip Swanson made the Elks Teens of the Year announcement for the final time, as he will retire at the close of the current school year.

"All of the portfolios that were evaluated were impressive, but one (male and female) has to stand above the others even in the midst of such quality as is in this room," said Swanson prior to the announcement.

Read the entire story here.

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee with Elk Teen of the Year Lauren Harrill, who plans to attend West Point.

(from left to right): General Sessions Judge Wylie Richardson, Lauren Harrill, Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Danny Wilson, Elks Lodge Secretary Jo Winitsky, McMinn County Schools Secondary Education Supervisor Dr. Phillip Swanson, Douglas Watts and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee.