Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Capital Region BOCES and Questar III New Visions students win 2015 State Championship

First time an upstate program has won the competition.

ALBANY -- For the first time in the program’s history, a Capital Region team has won the “We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition New York State Finals in Albany state championship.

The Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical School’s New Visions: Law & Government team – consisting of students from Capital Region BOCES and Questar III – bested nearly 150 of their peers from five other school districts from across the state on Feb. 7. The team now advances to the national competition held in Washington, D.C. on April 24-April 27.

It is the first win by any upstate school in the competition’s 28-year history.

To win, the students showed an “amazing” knowledge of the constitution and government.

The New Visions: Law & Government students, who attend the program for a half-day and their home high schools the other half, had to explain the philosophical and historical foundations on which the American political system is based.

During a simulated congressional hearing, the students "testified" before a panel of judges to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles, and they evaluated, took, and defended positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues. The 10 New Visions: Law & Government students competed and won beat out five other regional champion teams ranging from 12 to 36-students from Long Island, New York City and western New York, said their teacher, attorney Rich Bader.

The winning New Visions: Law & Government student team consists of students: Vincent Caruso from Averill Park, Jeremy Clement from Troy, Austin Czechowski from Cobleskill-Richmondville, Thomas Fischer from Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Keily Linger from Windham-Ashland-Jewett, Emilia Sacco from Schalmont, David Simon from Catskill, Kenneth Stevenson from Coxsackie-Athens, Emily Taylor from Cohoes and Keefe Watson from East Greenbush.

Jay Worona, general counsel and deputy executive director of the New York State School Board Association, and a national Constitutional Law expert, said that the New Visions: Law & Government team’s performance and depth and breadth of knowledge was “truly impressive”.

Bader said “the New Visions: Law & Government students prepared for the competition in part by studying ‘We The People: The Citizen and Constitution’, an intensive curriculum focusing on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” Funded and run in New York by the New York State Bar Association’s Law Youth and Citizenship program since 2010 when Congress cut funding this civic education program, the program has benefited 30 million students nationally during its 28-year history.

New Visions: Law & Government is a career-exploration and honors Advance Placement and college-credit-granting program offered by the Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical School for honors-level, college-bound high school seniors. Participating students attend the program for a half day and their home high schools the other half of the school day. In a classroom located at the State Education Building in downtown Albany, New Visions: Law & Government students study an integrated curriculum of advanced coursework in 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.

Applications for the program are being accepted through March 20 from high school juniors for the 2015-16 school year. An open house will be conducted on Feb. 11 from 8:30- 10:30 a.m. at the Capital Region Career and Technical Education Center, building B, 1015 Watervliet-Shaker Rd., Colonie. An evening open house for all New Visions programs will be held at the same location on from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 4.

For more information, call (518) 486-2613 or visithttp://capitalregionboces.org/CareerTech/Programs/NVLG.cfm.
The Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical School also offers New Visions programs in Health & Medicine and Journalism & Media Studies and New Visions programs in STEM at RPI (Pre-Engineering), Scientific Research and World Health at the SUNY School of Public Health, and Visual and Performing Arts at the Arts Center/Russell Sage, through Questar III.

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