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J.U.S.T. L.A.W. Student Essay Winners Recognized at Awards Ceremony

(May 22, 2024) Twelve students in the Rochester City School District’s J.U.S.T. L.A.W. essay contest during an awards ceremony at the Hall of Justice in Rochester. 

This school year, local judges visited several schools to help students in 6th – 9th grade better understand the law and the country’s legal system.  J.U.S.T. L.A.W., which stands for justice, understanding, societal trust, literacy, attendance, and writing, is a partnership between the Rochester City School District, the City of Rochester, the Seventh Judicial District, the Rochester Black Bar Association, and 103.9 WDKX. 

Over 145 students entered an essay contest, and 12 were selected as winners.  At the awards ceremony, they recited their work on “What Justice Means to Me” in front of family, friends, school principals, and Hall of Justice employees.

“This is a true example of taking the classroom into the community and extending learning beyond school walls,” said Dr. Carmine Peluso, Superintendent of Schools.  “The legal system plays a crucial role in our society, and it is vital our students have a firm grasp of its principles.”

Essay winners included:

  • Amiliani Berrios-Quiala, Anna Murray-Douglass Academy School No. 12
  • Lari Bostick, John Walton Spencer School No. 16
  • Bronwyn Capps, School of the Arts
  • Mustafa Gili, The Flower City School No. 54
  • Markaysha Holmes, John Walton Spencer School No. 16
  • Justice Johnson, John Walton Spencer School No. 16
  • Na’Zarie Mayhall, School of the Arts
  • London Pettway, John Walton Spencer School No. 16
  • Harmani Ponder, Anna Murray-Douglass Academy School No. 12
  • June Rogers, School of the Arts
  • Serenity Stephens, John Walton Spencer School No. 16
  • Doneal Williams, Henry Hudson School No. 28

Throughout the program, judges visited schools and students toured the Hall of Justice where they had discussions about careers in the court system with judges from the Seventh Judicial District, which covers Monroe, Cayuga, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates counties.