RCS senior assists in Capital Region BOCES New Visions team win to become three-time state champions

Three high school students at a table during the New Visions competition
Emma Trendell, Schoharie HS; Matthew McHugh, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk HS; and Madison Tyndell, Rensselaer HS compete at the “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition

For the third consecutive year, the Capital Region BOCES New Visions: Law and Government Program won the state-level “We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition on Feb. 11.

The team, made up of students from several area high schools including Matthew McHugh from Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, bested more than 100 finalists from five other school districts from across the state. The team now advances to the national competition held in Washington, D.C. on April 21-April 24.

To win, the New Visions: Law & Government students 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, and 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.

New Visions: Law & Government is a career-exploration and honors Advanced Placement (AP) 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 the classroom pupils 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.

New Visions students and advisers posing with winning plaque
(L to R) 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.