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


Justice, Understanding, Societal Trust and Literacy, Attendance, Writing (J.U.S.T.L.A.W) held its fifth annual awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 7, recognizing 12 students for their outstanding 2022-2023 essay submissions.


The event was held at the Hall of Justice and was hosted by Rochester Deputy Mayor Patrick Cunningham, who was joined by the Hon. William K. Taylor, the Hon. Craig Doran, the Hon. Fatimat O. Reid, as well as RCSD Superintendent Dr. Carmine Peluso to congratulate the participants.


The program is designed to promote a better understanding between court officials and city youth. Also, providing students, grades 6 – 9, the opportunity to connect with judges and other court officials to learn more about the U.S. legal system.


It is a collaborative effort between the City of Rochester, the 7th Judicial District, radio station 103.9 FM WDKX, the Rochester Black Bar Association, and the Rochester City School District (RCSD). The program was founded in 2017 by WDKX Owner and General Manager Andre Langston, along with Justice Craig Doran in collaboration with the City of Rochester.


During the program, judges from the 7th Judicial District visited 12 RCSD schools teaching students how the justice system works and its role in the community. The students were able to also share their thoughts and experiences with the justice system, encouraging important conversations between the court officials and the youth.


More than 100 essays on the topic, “What Justice Means to Me,” were judged by the J.U.S.T. L.A.W. executive committee members, and the top 12 essays were selected as the winners. Twelve were chosen, to mirror the jury selection process and the 12 jurors selected for a trial.


During Wednesday’s ceremony, the 12 honorees were given the opportunity to recite their winning essays.

The winning essayists received Certificates of Special Mayoral Recognition, an Amazon Fire tablet, and a check for $103.90. They also received a J.U.S.T. L.A.W. Medal of Honor from the RCSD.


The 2022-2023 J.U.S.T. L.A.W. student winners are:

  • Joel Canales RISE Community School 6th grade

  • Zoe DeBlieck School of the Arts 7th grade

  • Kidielys Diaz Anna Murray-Douglass Academy 8th grade

  • Zahra Hassani School of the Arts 7th grade

  • Nyomi Lee-Riley RISE Community School 6th grade

  • Paola Lorenzana Anna Murray-Douglass Academy 8th grade

  • Keriam Ocasio Anna Murray-Douglass Academy 7th grade

  • Patricia Padilla Anna Murray-Douglass Academy 7th grade

  • Edialis Trinidad Anna Murray-Douglass Academy 8th grade

  • Alana Williams Dr. Alice Holloway School of Excellence 8th grade

  • Mason Wolff Anna Murray-Douglass Academy 7th grade

  • Maria Yohana Dr. Alice Holloway School of Excellence 8th grade

For more information on the Just Law program, visit www.cityofrochester.gov/justlaw/.


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