“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
— Harriet Tubman
There is something to be said for young, unbridled enthusiasm…and even more so when it’s focused on a subject you are passionate about.
On Monday, a few of our members – Steven Modica, Bruce Lawrence, Bill Bauer, Hon. Craig Doran, Leah Tarantino and the Hon. Michael Sciortino – had the opportunity to experience this firsthand as they…and I….participated in the Annual Student Awards Ceremony at The Rubin Center for Education at the Telesca Center for Justice.
The Awards Ceremony takes place each year around Law Day and celebrates the winners of the Sydney R. Rubin Mock Trial Tournament and Rochester Teen Court participants, and when possible the Law Explorers Mock Trial program.
This year Hilton High School won the Monroe County Sydney R. Rubin Mock Trial Tournament – it was first time that Hilton has ever won. And to say that these students were excited – well, it would be an understatement to say the least.
The Sydney R. Rubin Mock Trial program is a program of the Monroe County Bar Association, with special funding from the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar. Rochester Teen Court is a program of The Center for Youth, with some of its funding provided by the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar and the Young Lawyers Section of the Monroe County Bar Association. In addition, many members of the MCBA and Young Lawyers Section act as attorney mentors, like Leah Tarantino, to the Teen Court participants.
Judge Doran presided over the event and talked to both groups about a passion for the law and encouraged them to pursuit it. He also thanked the parents of the students, the teachers who act as coaches as well as the attorney volunteers involved in these programs, such as Leah Tarantino, Hon. Michael Sciortino, Bianca D’Angelo, Bill Bauer and many others
The attorney volunteers are key to keeping these programs alive, as well as keeping that “young, unbridled enthusiasm” alive – to avoid the “cynicization” of the youth. But they are not the only ones – the MCBA’s Lawyers for Learning program pairs attorneys with young students (K-6) at School 29 and our Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship program which pairs up first-year law students at firms and organizations.
All of these programs are examples of the Bar’s dedicated volunteers to not only the Association (which is great) but to the entire community and its future. And for every volunteer of time, there are those who donate dollars, whether to the Foundation’s Raise the Bar and Jazz For Justice event, the Young Lawyers Silent Auction benefiting Teen Court, or to the Lawyers for Learning Annual Golf Tournament in September to help these programs.
And these programs above don’t even include those attorneys whose day job has them working with the youth – whether it’s a family court or ACT For the Children attorney, a public defender, a judge presiding over a case- and so many others.
Watching the program on Monday evening — the excitement of the night – I felt proud of our members and our legal community, and I felt excited for our students and our future who benefit from it. And that feeling for me can be summed up with one quote:
“Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” – Rita Pierson
Thanks for checking in,