By Anna Berry
From learning about adult responsibilities to creating public policy proposals, thousands of high school students were affected by the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Law Related Education programs this year.
Newly-updated for 2019, the “Beyond High School” guide to adult rights and responsibilities by attorney Jennifer Eber has been distributed throughout New Hampshire as a gift to high school seniors. By the end of this year’s graduation ceremonies, 60 high schools had received the books, reaching nearly 9,500 students.
“I am very proud of the work that has been put into this project and know that it will be a valuable resource for students as they begin their future,” said Robin E. Knippers, NHBA Law Related Education coordinator.
The grant-funded publication, written by attorney Jennifer Eber, provides information to high school seniors regarding their rights and responsibilities before entering adulthood. Some of the topics covered in the book are: starting college, registering a car, and understanding a housing lease, among many others.
“Now that the graduating high school students have received this gift, we will be reaching out to nonprofit organizations, including the NH Dept. of Education’s Education for Homeless Children & Youth program (EHCY); City Year New Hampshire; DCYF; Child Protective Services/Youth and Residential Facilities; Outreach, Admissions & Career Transitions at NH Job Corps; Fostering Legal Independence; and, Spaulding Youth Center to continue our mission to provide a foundation of civics education for all New Hampshire students,” Knippers added.
Meanwhile, the culmination of the Bar’s Project Citizen program — the NH State Showcase — took place at Windham High School on May 29.
“We the People: Project Citizen” promotes competent and responsible participation in state and local government. As a class project, students work together to identify and study a public policy issue, eventually developing an action plan to engage support for their policy proposal. The final product is a portfolio displaying each group’s work.
In a culminating activity, the class presents its portfolio in a simulated legislative hearing, demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of how public policy is formulated. Teachers are encouraged to hold hearings in the classroom or community setting. Windham students’ policy proposals on May 29 including building a track at the school, adding SAT prep classes and recycling, and limiting homework.
“I’m so glad to see it come back,” said teacher Laura Dwyer of the program, which she previously taught in local elementary and middle schools. “The kids get excited because they’re realizing that one voice can make a difference.”
The New Hampshire Bar Association congratulates the Windham High School students who participated in the program, presented in partnership with the NH Institute for Civics Education, and thanks the members and volunteers who gave their time as evaluators to the state showcase and hearing.