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Immediate
Christine Morganti
(505) 797-6028
cmorganti@nmbar.org

Attorneys Bring Constitution Day to New Mexico’s Fifth Graders

Albuquerque, N.M.— New Mexico attorneys and judges helped fifth graders around the state study the U.S. Constitution during the week of Sept. 13–17, commemorating the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. The State Bar’s Public and Legal Services Department and the Public Legal Education Commission coordinated activities with schools by supplying pocket-sized booklets of the Constitution, lesson plans, and visits by attorney volunteers. Attorneys partnered with teachers to lead discussions on freedom and liberty to 7,700 students in classrooms throughout the state. A total of 138 attorneys and judges volunteered their time, and more contributed to the program by donating money to cover the cost of classroom materials.

Vincent Martinez  
Leslie Maxwell
Vincent Martinez participated in Constitution Day at Maggie Cordova Elementary School in Rio Rancho. “The students were knowledgeable and participated very well, and the teachers and principle were also very gracious. Students from Nick Mischel's fifth grade glass asked me to autograph their Constitution books for them. That is the first time, and probably the only time, anyone has asked me for my autograph,” said Martinez.   Leslie Maxwell is an old hand at bringing the Constitution to the classroom. “I always do this,” she said. “It’s so much fun.” Maxwell and teacher Miranda Saenz put the kids through their paces in classic team teaching style at Arroyo del Oso Elementary School in Albuquerque.
     
Judge Michael Vigil
  Peter Ossorio
New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge Michael E. Vigil hands out copies of the Constitution to students at Bel Air Elementary School in Albuquerque.   Peter Ossorio came up with a novel way to demonstrate the concept of checks and balances to students at Sonoma Elementary School in Las Cruces. The legs of a tripod represented the three branches of government. “I asked for volunteer twins to be the house and the senate and together hold the legislative branch; I asked for someone bossy to hold the executive branch and someone wise to hold the judiciary branch. Then I told them to set up and level the tripod without letting go of their branches and releasing their powers,” explained Ossorio.

 

The State Bar of New Mexico was organized in 1886 and is composed of more than 8500 members. Its purposes are to aid the courts in administering justice and preserving the rule of law, and to foster a high standard of integrity and competence within the legal profession.