Supreme Court Historical Society, YMCA Partner to Honor Former Chief Justice Drowota

April 30, 2019

Two local institutions have joined together to promote the cause of legal education and to further the legacy of widely respected former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank F. Drowota III, who passed away just over a year ago.

The Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society has partnered with the Tennessee YMCA Center for Civic Engagement to sponsor an essay contest for high school students who participate in the judicial component of the YMCA’s Youth in Government program. The Justice Frank F. Drowota III essay contest asks students to submit a 1,500 word essay on a legal topic of historic significance. This year’s topic was the famous Scopes Monkey Trial. The winning student received a commemorative plaque, a letter from the TSCHS, and $250.

Matthew Goodbred, a student at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, was announced as the inaugural winner of the essay contest at a special ceremony during the Youth in Government conference in Nashville. Justice Drowota’s wife, Claire, presented Goodbred with the contest prizes.

In addition, the judicial branch of the Youth in Government program has now been renamed the Justice Frank F. Drowota III Supreme Court. The annual conference offers more than 2,500 high school and middle school students a hands-on experience with state government. Participants come to Nashville and serve in the role of senators, representatives, justices, lawyers, department commissioners, lobbyists, or members of the media. Justice Drowota often coached and mentored students playing roles in the judicial branch during the Youth in Government program.

During the ceremony, students were told about Justice Drowota’s life and work, as well as his lifelong commitment to the YMCA. Justice Drowota joined the YMCA early in life and later sat on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. He was instrumental in the creation of the YMCA’s Joe C. Davis Outdoor Center in Antioch, where thousands of children each year get to enjoy a stay at Camp Widjiwagan.

Justice Drowota served for 25 years on the Tennessee Supreme Court, making him the state’s second longest serving justice. When he retired in 2005, he was the longest-serving active state court judge in Tennessee. The Tennessee Bar Association also has an award that it gives out each year in honor of Justice Drowota. The prestigious Justice Frank F. Drowota III Award is the TBA’s highest award for judicial service.

Essay contest winner Matthew Goodbred with members of the Drowota family, TN Supreme Court Historical Society, and YMCA.