An all-star team of New York City students won the final round of the International Moot Court Competition, held on February 17 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. The NYC students, assembled from 12 high schools across the five boroughs, beat out ten rival teams from Buenos Aires, Caracas, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Gdansk, and The Hague. The competition, judged by a distinguished collection of jurists including judges on the International Criminal Court, measured oral argument in a fictional case concerning child soldiers.
“This is something I’ve been dreaming about for years,” said Debra Lesser, executive director of the Justice Resource Center (JRC), a Department of Education partner that sponsored the New York City team. JRC provides law-related education programs and curricula to 38 high schools supporting 46 total programs within New York City’s career and technical education portfolio.
JRC partnered with the Municipality of The Hague and the International Debate Education Association in conjunction with the International Bar Association (IBA-England), to create this first-of-its-kind event, in which students gave prepared arguments, faced verbal barrages from opposing legal teams and answered lines of questioning from court judges.
The competition is an outgrowth of the nationally acclaimed MENTOR law firm/school partnership program. Since its launch more than 20 years ago, MENTOR has paired major law firms with New York City public high school students. The lawyers-partners and associates help students prepare for an appellate argument. Countless hours are spent analyzing and dissecting judicial opinions as well as honing oral advocacy skill.
The New York City Department of Education salutes all the winning students and the schools from which they hail:
- Mishal Ayaz, John Bowne High School
- Rose Balzano, James Madison High School
- Shannika Campbell, Harry S Truman High School
- Tyler Deharrte, Cobble Hill School of American Studies
- Rafael Henriquez, Bronx High School of Science
- Benjamin Hoffman, High School of American Studies at Lehman College
- Alban Hoxha, Herbert H. Lehman High School
- Catrina Livermore, Forest Hills High School
- Christopher Llego, Sheepshead Bay High School
- Juan Lopez, Flushing High School
- Katherine Mallary, High School of American Studies at Lehman College
- Tiana Quattruci, Herbert H. Lehman High School
- Daniel Pena, Forest Hills High School
- Gabriel Pariente, James Madison High School
- Sophia Weinstock, Susan E. Wagner High School
- Peiran Zhang, Francis Lewis High School
Photo credit: Loes Schleedoom