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SCS senior Emma Trendell part of 3x state champion "We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution" team

Schoharie High School senior Emma Trendell and nine of her New Visions: Law & Government classmates won the Feb. 11 "We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution" competition after testing their knowledge against more than 100 students from across the state.

This is the third year in a row the New Visions: Law & Government team won the state-level competition. The team now advances to the national competition held in Washington, D.C. on April 21-24.

To win, Trendell and her New Visions teammates had to explain the philosophical and historical foundations on which the American political system is based.

In the setting of a simulated congressional hearing, the students "testified" before panels of judges to demonstrate their extensive knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles.

They evaluated, took and defended positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues, ranging from recent Supreme Court rulings about the Voting Rights Act, to the First Amendment rights of students on social media regarding speech about school, to federal immigration policy.

The 10 New Visions: Law & Government students didn't let being the smallest team represented interfere with their success as they bested five other regional champion teams ranging from 12 to 34-students from Long Island, New York City and western New York, said their teacher, attorney Rich Bader.

The winning team consists of:

Kelsey Delaney, Schalmont High School
Ed Lawson, Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School
Skyler Leveroni, Averill Park High School
Matthew McHugh, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School
Sureet Pabbi, Niskayuna High School
Carson Rowe, Scotia-Glenville High School
Quentin Rubel, Chatham High School
Jared Scali, Hudson High School
Emma Trendell, Schoharie High School
Madison Tyndell, Rensselaer High School

According to Bader, the students prepared for the competition in part by studying "We The People: The Citizen and Constitution," an intensive curriculum funded and run by the New York State Bar Association’s Law Youth and Citizenship program.

"At a time when surveys and studies show us that New Yorkers and all Americans know less and less about the Constitution and how our government works," Bader said, "these student are able to show they know more than ever."

One of the judges, Tim Backus, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction at South Colonie School District, remarked that the New Visions students “really know their stuff,” an understanding of the Constitution that was both in-depth and extensive.

Another judge, attorney Mary Berry, Albany Law School’s Government Lawyer-in-Residence at its Government Law Center, said the students did an excellent job of presenting "good, respectful disagreement" that demonstrated an impressive breadth of knowledge.

New Visions: Law & Government is a half-day, honors and college-level program offered to high school seniors through the Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical School. Class meets for half of each school day in downtown Albany, across from the state Capitol. Students attend from several area high schools in the Capital Region and Questar III BOCES regions.

New Visions: Law & Government coursework includes political science, law, English and economics, with government and law-related internships, job shadowing, field trips, community service and competitions. Students learn first-hand about the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, as well as about the private legal sector.


New Visions: Law & Government winning team, including Emma Trendell

In the photo, from left: Carson Rowe, Scotia-Glenville High School; Kelsey Delaney, Schalmont High School; Quentin Rubel, Chatham High School; Skyler Leveroni, Averill Park High School; Ed Lawson, Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School; Jared Scali, Hudson High School; Richard Bader, Esq., Instructor; Matthew McHugh, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School; Madison Tyndell, Rensselaer High School; Sureet Pabbi, Niskayuna High School; Emma Trendell, Schoharie High School; and Hon. Jonah Treibwasser, Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Law, Youth and Citizenship Committee.
Lower left: Martha Noordsy, Director of the New York State Bar Association’s Law, Youth and Citizenship Program.







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