Phila. students join lawyers and judges to celebrate culmination of Advancing Civics Education program

By Jon Campisi | May 28, 2013

A large number of Philadelphia public school students are expected to join jurists and

other representatives of the city’s legal community on May 30 at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia to celebrate the success of the award-winning Advancing Civics Education program.

The event, which will include a mock Supreme Court session, is designed to bring together the 100-plus local students who recently participated in the ACE program, which was launched in 2008 as a joint venture between the Philadelphia Bar Association, the School District of Philadelphia and the National Constitution Center.

The program, according to the Philadelphia Bar Association, brings teams of volunteer attorneys and judges into fifth grade classrooms in Philadelphia public schools to provide supplemental civics education, including topics such as the fundamental principles of citizenship, democracy and dispute resolution.

Since the program’s inception, more than 150 lawyers and judges have volunteered their time, venturing to a total of 14 high schools and three elementary schools throughout the city’s school district, according to the PBA.

The ACE program was recently expanded into local library branches during the Free Library of Philadelphia’s summer literacy program.

During the upcoming event at the U.S. District Court building in Philadelphia, officially known as the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse, participating students and the teams of volunteers will engage in activities and programming based on a theme titled “Equality and Justice for All,” with the day’s activities including group work and interactive sessions and a mini mock trial in the courthouse’s ground-floor ceremonial courtroom, according to a PBA news release.

Students will be awarded with certificates highlighting their accomplishments at the end of the day.

Representatives from the National Constitution Center are also slated to put on an interactive presentation for the program’s participants.

U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee will offer a personal welcome at the start of the event.

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