Nelson Honors Madison High School’s Legal Eagles

Madison High School's "We the People" team. (Source: Councilman Nelson's office)

The following is a press release from Councilman Michael Nelson’s office:

(Brooklyn, NY) – Council Member Michael C. Nelson proudly honored the students of James Madison High School’s Law Institute with an official NYC Council proclamation at City Hall for their outstanding victory at the prestigious “We the People” Competition in New York City.  Founded by Sonia Lerner more than twenty-five years ago, the Law Institute at James Madison High School is an intensive honors program integrating various aspects of law over four years.

Students in Madison’s Law Institute take classes that include discussion of legal precedents, constitutional law, Supreme Court procedures, legal writing, legal economics, business law, criminology and more. The highlight of the student’s senior year is preparation for the fiercely competitive “We the People” Competition.  This competition involves a select group of students from the senior law class who engage in mock congressional hearings. These legal eagles separate into several units based on different issues drawn from constitutional, historical and current events.  The students present in front of a panel of judges, which is followed by challenging follow-up questions concerning their topics, to which the students respond individually with their opinions, supporting their answers with examples from current and historical events.

On January 7th, 2011, the “We the People” Team from the Law Institute at James Madison High School entered the New York City Competition with their heads held high ready to compete against the “best of the best” from other high schools in the city.  Thanks to the dedication of these high achieving students, and the tireless support of faculty coaches, Stacey Azoff, Michael Ciampi and Marla Rutter, Madison High School’s twenty-eight member “We the People” Team was awarded first place, and crowned the New York City Champions.

“James Madison High School’s Law Institute embodies the philosophy of its namesake, James Madison, who said ‘education is the true foundation of civil liberty,’ said Councilman Nelson.  “I am very proud to honor the school and the students of this outstanding program, who won this most coveted award, and represented the City of New York in the State Finals in Albany.  Throughout the competition these students demonstrated a clear understanding of the Constitution, and thus played a major role in fostering a greater understanding and appreciation among younger generations for this profound document.”