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Youth Law Day at AHS By Hon. Helena Heath-Roland

From the April 2012 Newsletter)

Youth Law Day at Albany High School
By Hon. Helena Heath-Roland

The ACBA Committee on Attorneys in Public Service ("CAPS" Committee) had the pleasure of organizing and participating in the Youth Law Day held at Albany High School on November 10, 2011.  Under the leadership of Albany High's Principal, Dr. David McCalla, an outstanding opportunity was provided to students for them to meet public service attorneys and learn about the pathways to a career in the law.
Our Committee, working in collaboration with the Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association, identified eleven attorneys to speak with primarily Juniors and Seniors in 18 classrooms throughout the day.  The presenters included ACBA members Tony Cantore, Ann Lapinski, Tara Wells, and Jim Milstein.  The attorneys discussed their path to becoming a lawyer, challenges they faced and overcame, support they received from mentors along the way, the work they presently do, and provided advice on how students can best accomplish their goals to pursue higher education and law school for those interested in this profession.

A Youth Law Day will be held annually at the school.  Also, an Albany Youth Court program is now up and running at Albany High School. As part of the High School's renovations and implementation of four distinct academic academies, a beautiful mock courtroom was built last year at the school, equipped with a jury box, judge's bench, and original artifacts from actual courtrooms.  My presentation was held in the mock courtroom on Youth Law Day, and the students' excitement and positive energy from learning while being in a courtroom setting was overwhelming.  For the students who participate in the Albany Youth Court program, they get to conduct hearings involving ninth graders who have committed low-level violations, including disruptive behavior, minor altercations, bullying, and larceny.

There will be future opportunities for ACBA members to volunteer to participate in a Youth Law Day at Albany High School, for which the CAPS Committee is pleased to help organize. Given the significant skills and values students develop from participating in Youth Court programs, the Committee will also look to collaborate with the Albany City School District in their efforts to recruit volunteers from various legal, law enforcement and family service agencies to participate in that program to help with its success.


November 2014 NEWSLETTER

Albany County Bar Association
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