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March 9, 2010

LONG ISLAND'S HALF HOLLOW HILLS EAST HIGH SCHOOL WINS "WE THE PEOPLE" STATE FINALS

High School will compete in the "We the People" National Finals in Washington, D.C. this April

ALBANY-The New York State Bar Association's Law Youth and Citizenship Program today announced that Half Hollow Hills East High School (Dix Hills, NY) is the statewide champion of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution competition, the highly prestigious national academic contest on the U.S. Constitution. As a result of its victory, the team will represent New York in the national finals to be held in Virginia and Washington, D.C. this April.

Half Hollow Hills East, under the guidance of teacher Scott Edwards, accumulated the best scores of the nine high schools that attended the New York State Final Hearings in Albany on March 6th. The students studied for months to prepare for their roles as experts testifying on constitutional issues in the simulated congressional hearings. A panel of 19 judges rated the students on their knowledge of the Constitution and their ability to relate today's news and court cases to various constitutional principles.

The first round of the national finals will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, April 24-25. The competition involves entire classes making presentations and answering questions on constitutional topics before a panel of judges recruited from across the country. Constitutional scholars, lawyers, and government leaders, acting as congressional committee members, will judge the students' performances.  The combined scores from the first two days of those hearings will determine which classes will compete in the championship round on Monday, April 26, in Senate hearing rooms on Capitol Hill. That evening, the winning classes will receive awards at a special ceremony held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The annual three-day final competition is the culminating activity of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, the most extensive education program of its kind in the country. The New York State Bar Association's Law, Youth and Citizenship Program (LYC) administers the nationwide program in New York. LYC is the third-largest civics and law-related education program in the country.

The other eight schools receiving awards at the New York State Final Hearings last week included:

• Townsend Harris High School in Flushing; Dr. Linda Steinmann, teacher - second place
• Forest Hills High School in Queens; Ed Lam, teacher - third place
• James Madison High School in Brooklyn; Ms. Stacey Azoff, teacher - Unit 1 award
• Smithtown High School East on Long Island; Mr. Shaun Minton, teacher - Unit 2 award
• Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn; Ms. Susana Giberga, teacher - Unit 3 award
• New Visions Law and Government Program at the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School in Albany; Mr. Richard Bader, teacher - Unit 4 award
• Westfield Academy and Central School in Westfield; Mr. Greg Birner, teacher - Unit 5 award
• Herricks High School in New Hyde Park; Ms. Jodi Thompson, teacher - Unit 6 award

Implemented nationwide in upper elementary, middle, and high schools, the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program has reached more than 30 million students and 81,000 teachers since its inception in 1987. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by Congress and directed by the Center for Civic Education in Calabasas, California.

Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

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