Posts Categorized: Law Day in the Schools

Thank you to our Law Day in the Schools Volunteers!!

Students from Ms. Gee’s 2nd grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School talking with attorneys Carrie Benedon and Suleyken Walker from the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General about elections and why every vote counts.

As many of you readers know, the BBA just finished up its Law Day in the Schools Program, and this year, thanks to the continuing strength of the program and the work put in by our volunteers, Law Day in the Schools reached more students than ever! This year, 87 volunteers brought the program to 50 classrooms in 9 different Boston Public Schools to teach over 1,300 students of all ages about “Why Every Vote Matters.”

Beyond the Billable would like to acknowledge the attorneys, legal staff, and law students who volunteered their time to be a part of Law Day! Without their time and effort this program would not be possible. Thank you to:

Daryl Abbas
Susan Alexander
Julia Amrhein
Kerri Ansello
Leonard Audaer
Heather Baer
Jared Barnes
Carrie Benedon
Daniel Biagiotti
Jane Biondi
Martha Born
Heidi Brewster
Stephen Cohen
Kyle Crossley
Meghan Davoren
Kathryn Day
Joan Densberger
Smita Deshmukh
Andrew Doherty
Elizabeth Duffy
Daniel Dufresne
Noah Ehrenpreis
Ely Exner
Julie Franklin
Richard Freije
Maya French
Galen Gilbert
Sugandha Gopal
Michelle Greco
Brenda Hansen
Julie Heinzelman
Kathleen Henry
Rachel Hershfang
Emily Hodge
Sheryl Howard
Kate Isley
April Itano
Richard Johnston
Elizabeth Johnston
Catherine Jones
Anne Kaczmarek
Sharon Kamowitz
Dara Kesselheim

Ellen King
Nita Kumaraswami
David Lieberman
Jessica Lieberman
David London
Stephanie Macholtz
Jenevieve Maerker
John McBrine
Bryana McGillycuddy
Rochelle Meddoff
Lisa Menelly
Mark Molter
Jason Morris
Sean Nehill
Igor Novikov
Elianna Nuzum
Michael Parran
Jessica Pettit
Rory Pheiffer
Krista Pratt
Karen Rabinovici
Nicholas Ramacher
Susanne Reardon
Parker Reynolds
Andrea Richmond
Catherine Robinson
Laura Rosi
Allison Roso
Nency Salamoun
Michael Satterwhite
Sarah Schendel
Gregory Shiferman
Jacob Simon
Gary Smith
Mary Snyder
Michael Steffany
Alex Sugerman-Brozan
Anne Thomas
Suleyken Walker
Natasha Walwyn
Alice Wang
Gregory Whittaker
Scott Zanolli
Kiersten Zaza

 

For more information about Law Day in the Schools, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].

Law Day Dinner Honors the Strength of Boston!

Monday night, over 1,400 attorneys came out for the annual Law Day Dinner held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. At the Dinner, friends, colleagues, judges, and legislators joined together to welcome Boston’s new Mayor, honor achievements, and celebrate the strength of our city.

This year, awards were presented to the Marathon Assistance Project’s volunteers, whose quick response to a tragedy through legal assistance changed the lives of many who had been affected by the atrocities and helped them to recover.

 

BBA President Paul T. Dacier presented a special award to over 60 volunteer attorneys who provided critical assistance to victims and small business affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

BBA President Paul T. Dacier presented a special award to over 60 volunteer attorneys who provided critical assistance to victims and small business affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

 

Following the honoring of the Marathon Volunteers, the BBA recognized the tireless work of the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) for their dedication to providing educational and career opportunities to Boston youth, as well as their longstanding support of the BBA Summer Jobs program. This celebration of the PIC’s commitment to students comes as the BBA’s Summer Jobs 2014 Program is about to begin: currently the PIC and BBA are working to place over 60 Boston Public High School students in paid legal positions for the summer.

 

BBA President Paul T. Dacier presented the Boston Private Industry Council Executive Director Neil Sullivan, School-to-Career and Employer Engagement Director Josh Bruno, and several Career Specialists with an award for their continued collaboration with BBA on the Summer Jobs Program and their work to help Boston Public High School Students find jobs and transition into the workforce

BBA President Paul T. Dacier presented the Boston Private Industry Council Executive Director Neil Sullivan, School-to-Career and Employer Engagement Director Josh Bruno, and several Career Specialists with an award for their continued collaboration with BBA on the Summer Jobs Program and their work to help Boston Public High School Students find jobs and transition into the workforce.

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Last but definitely not least, the BBA honored Bonnie Sashin, the BBA’s former Director of Communications & External Relations, for her 26 years of outstanding service and her contributions to the organization and the legal community.  Bonnie received a standing ovation from attendees, while guests and people not in attendance were able to tweet their congratulations to Bonnie at #thankyoubonnie, where the messages were broadcasted live on stage.

 

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The ceremony concluded with a speech from Boston’s mayor, Marty Walsh, who spoke to attendees about his commitment to community and equality, and how the bar and legal professionals can play a role in his vision for the city of Boston. The Mayor began by thanking all of the volunteers of the Marathon Assistance Project, emphasizing the unique role that as attorneys they were able to play in helping the city recover.

Mayor Walsh also spoke to attendees about public service, and giving back the community in which we all live or work.  The BBA’s Summer Jobs program was highlighted as one of the many parts of Mayor Walsh’s personal vision for diverse youth employment in Boston, stating that “in a time of growth, no one should be left behind.”

Along with Mayor Walsh, Beyond the Billable would like to thank the Boston Marathon Assistance Projects volunteers, PIC, and Bonnie for their tremendous contributions to making the Boston a stronger, happier, and more progressive city – thank you!

Law Day in the Schools Recap!

Last week, the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program finished up reaching a record number of students.  This year’s Law Day theme, “Why Every Vote Matters,” was brought to 50 different Boston Public School classrooms and reached over 1,300 students! The program continued the tradition of bringing lawyers into classrooms across the city to teach students of all ages about voting rights and what it means to be a lawyer.

Students from Ms. Gee’s 2nd grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School talking with attorneys Carrie Benedon and Suleyken Walker from the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General about elections and why every vote counts.

Students from Ms. Gee’s 2nd grade class at Josiah Quincy Elementary School talking with attorneys Carrie Benedon and Suleyken Walker from the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General about elections and why every vote counts.

 

In an exercise to demonstrate the importance of voting, students held a mock election on whether to have recess indoors or outside. As you can imagine, this was a very contentious issue for 2nd graders -- here are some of the posters by the Josiah Quincy School students advocating where they should have recess.

In an exercise to demonstrate the importance of voting, students held a mock election on whether to have recess indoors or outside. As you can imagine, this was a very contentious issue for 2nd graders — here are some of the posters by the Josiah Quincy School students advocating where they should have recess.

 

Attorneys  John McBrine and Rory Pheiffer both of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, holding a vote in Ms. Mulherin’s 1st grade class at Sam Adam’s Elementary School in East Boston.

Attorneys John McBrine and Rory Pheiffer both of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, holding a vote in Ms. Mulherin’s 1st grade class at Sam Adam’s Elementary School in East Boston.

 

Missed out on the fun? Although this year’s Law Day in the Schools Program is wrapping up, stay tuned for more information about upcoming public service opportunities, or contact BBA Public Service Programs Coordinator Katie D’Angelo at [email protected] for more information on how you can get involved.

BBA President Joins Brighton Students to Celebrate Law Day

BBA President Paul T. Dacier handed medals out to the students as a reward for their  hard work on their posters and essays.

BBA President Paul T. Dacier handed medals out to the students as a reward for their hard work on their posters and essays.

Every year, May 1st marks the official celebration of Law Day—a day to reflect upon the importance of law and the justice system in the United States and to educate young people about how law affects society. BBA President Paul Dacier headed back to Brighton Municipal Court again this year to take part in the annual Law Day celebrations with First Justice David Donnelly, Honorable Patricia Bernstein, and Brighton elementary school students. Students participated in a poster and essay contest on the Law Day theme of “Why Every Vote Matters.”

For a first-hand look at the day’s event from Paul’s perspective, check out Dacier’s Take on…Law Day Celebrations in Brighton’s Municipal Court

Lessons from Law Day – Junior Fellows Reflect

John McBrine, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP,   helping a student work on her Law Day poster

John McBrine, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, helping a student work on her Law Day poster

Over 80 volunteers visited 1,300 students at ten Boston elementary and high schools during Law Day in the Schools this past week, the largest program in recent history. That’s not the only good news – this year we noticed a significant uptick in Law Day in the Schools volunteers from Junior Fellows (of the BBF Society of Fellows Program) and past/present BBA Public Interest Leaders. We reached out to three of them to hear about their experience teaching about this year’s theme “Why Every Vote Matters” and the importance of community outreach as a Fellow and Public Interest Leader. Here’s what they had to say:

McBrine, John“The first graders at Samuel Adams Elementary School in East Boston were just wonderful. We all had a great time exploring how our democratic system of government works. I was amazed at the depth of their curiosity and sense of fairness. One student even asked a question about Justice Sotomayor. I don’t think I knew my phone number in first grade. Overall, the experience provided a great opportunity to reach out to the Boston community and expose youth to the law. As a Junior Fellow and a member of PILP, I believe it’s very important to give back and I encourage all Fellows and BBA members to participate in public, as they able.”– John McBrine, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, Boston Bar Foundation Junior Fellow & PILP 10

 

Lieberman, David W.“Law Day in Schools was a great way to spend my lunch hour. I went to Ms. Abid’s fourth grade class at the M.E. Bradley Elementary School in East Boston and all of the kids were really excited to meet me and engaged in our project. We talked for a bit about the importance of voting and then we held an election for the official class candy (Peppermint Patties just barely edged out Twizzlers for the win). At the end, the kids asked some of their burning legal questions like “can you be president if you aren’t born in America?” and “what happens if your parents give you a bad word as a name?” In the end, a great time was had by everyone, and I think everyone learned a little (especially me and my partner).” –David W.S. Lieberman, Day Pitney LLP, Boston Bar Foundation Junior Fellow & PILP 11

 

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“As part of the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program, I had the privilege of spending time with a group of energetic second graders at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School talking about why every vote matters. When we discussed the nature of our government and what it means to vote, the students enthusiastically offered tales of accompanying parents to the polls, seeing votes cast behind screens to protect the voter’s privacy, and watching ballots being whisked away into ballot machines. It was inspiring to watch the students engage with the concept of voting and the importance of participation. They were able to recognize the value in voicing their opinions and casting their votes whenever they have the opportunity.”– Emily Hodge, Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, Boston Bar Foundation Junior Fellow & PILP 9

Are you interested in becoming more involved as a Junior Fellow or participating in an upcoming public service activity? Please visit the Society of Fellows webpage or the BBA Public Service webpage to learn more.

Lawyers Learn the Ropes Before Law Day in the Schools Experience

Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP), pictured above volunteering for the 2012 Law Day in the Schools Program,  led the training and helped prepare volunteers for their upcoming visit with students as part of the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program.

Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP), pictured above volunteering for the 2012 Law Day in the Schools Program, led the training and helped prepare volunteers for their upcoming visit with students as part of the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program.

What’s the best technique to get five year olds to quiet down? How do you get a group of 16 year olds to understand the difference between restrictive and expansive voter requirements? If you’re surprised to hear these types of questions coming from a program at 16 Beacon Street — don’t be — our lawyers were learning the ins and outs of conducting an effective Law Day in the Schools presentation to Boston public school students. The training, led by program vet Emily Hodge (Choate Hall & Stewart LLP), walked volunteers through the curriculum and offered helpful tips and hints on keeping students focused and engaged with this year’s theme – “Why Every Vote Matters.” As part of the program, which begins today, more than 75 volunteers will present to more than 1,300 elementary, middle and high school classrooms across Boston – an all-time high.

Stay tuned for more.

Lawyers to Talk Voting Rights with More than 1300 BPS Students for Law Day in the Schools

Through the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program, attorneys travel to Boston public high schools to teach students about the legal field.

Through the BBA Law Day in the Schools Program, attorneys travel to Boston public high schools to teach students about the legal field.

Demand for the BBA’s Law Day in the Schools Program has skyrocketed this year with 1340 students from nine Boston public high schools signed up to learn “Why Every Vote Matters” on May 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Volunteers have stepped up to meet the demand and volunteer spots are filling up quickly – so click here to view the available sessions.

Why volunteer? The Law Day in the Schools Program is a great way for attorneys to engage in their community and teach students of all ages important lessons in civics – with a minimal time commitment. The sessions last no more than an hour and the BBA provides volunteers with all of the necessary materials.

Volunteers can choose the classrooms and age groups they volunteer for, so don’t delay in signing up here.

Legal Offices Share Their “Adopting A Classroom” Stories

Students from Another Course to College learning about Using Credit and Credit Cards, as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

Students from Another Course to College learning about Using Credit and Credit Cards, as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program

While students are still traveling the Boston and Worcester Bankruptcy Courts, the classroom based sessions of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program have wrapped up in the Greater Boston area. This year, four legal offices stepped up and “adopted a classroom” to help meet the growing demand for the program in fifteen schools. In this model, legal offices commit to providing 3-6 volunteers to cover each of the three classroom based sessions. In return, the legal offices were able to provide their employees with an opportunity to give back while partnering with a fellow colleague.

Beyond the Billable reached out to the legal departments of Sun Life Financial and Liberty Mutual, both of whom participated in the “adopt a classroom” model last year as well, to hear more about the experience. Sun Life Financial adopted a classroom at Joseph P. Keefe Technical School in Framingham and Liberty Mutual adopted four classrooms at Boston Community Leadership Academy in Hyde Park.

Here’s what they had to say:

Why did your legal office choose to participate in the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program?

“As in house counsel and compliance professionals in the financial services industry, supporting a financial literacy program has been a great way for us to give back to the community and utilize our skills. We selected the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Program for a few reasons. First, volunteers don’t have to be attorneys and this allows us to make the opportunity available to more people in our department. We also like being able to sponsor the same school every year. We have found that consistency of the same teacher, class format and class size every year enhances the success of the program. Volunteers know what to expect and can build off of best practices from prior years to improve upon our delivery of the program for a technical high school. Lastly, the volunteer materials provided by the BBA are very comprehensive, which helps cut down on preparation time, and are designed such that the volunteers can be flexible about deciding how to select content of an organization for a particular session.” – Michelle Greco, AVP & Senior Counsel, Sun Life Financial

“The M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program provides a unique opportunity for both the students and the Liberty Mutual Insurance volunteers. Students have the opportunity to learn about finance-related topics from volunteers who have significant real-world knowledge, which we think enables the students to continue to build practical skills as they enter young adulthood. The volunteers enjoy interacting with the high school students and having the chance to make a difference in their lives. In addition, the program gives some of our volunteers with backgrounds in finance a chance to make an impact and help students avoid financial pitfalls in advance, rather than merely helping after the fact.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual

What was the highlight of the program for your volunteers?

“Spending any amount of time in a high school is like taking a step back in time. As you think about the decisions that are on the horizon for the young adults who will soon be graduating, you realize that while you may have come to talk about the specifics of buying a car, what you are really there for is to impress upon the students the important differences between what they want, and what they really need and can afford. That theme runs through the various modules, and hopefully our discussion about the realities of owning a car helped the students understand the kind of tough financial decisions they will have to make when they are on their own. The students were interested and active, which made the session a lot of fun, and I hope I can participate in this program again in the future.” — Scott Davis, SVP & General Counsel, Sun Life Financial

“Without a doubt, the primary highlight for our volunteers was the chance to provide guidance to young adults through a live, interactive classroom session with a dynamic group of students. Most of our volunteers do not regularly teach high school classes, and they reported that the experience was energizing and exciting. They enjoyed the hands-on exposure and fielding questions from their classrooms both on the finance topic of the day and other matters the students might raise.”— Andrew Fagenholz, Corporate Counsel, Liberty Mutual

Our volunteers were so excited to share their experiences that we had to turn this into a two part statement! Stay tuned for part two when we hear from Choate Hall & Stewart and the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission volunteers about their experiences.

 

 

PILP Alums Create Curriculum for Law Day in the Schools

Last year, 41 volunteers traveled to seven Boston public high schools for the Law Day in the Schools Program

Last year, 41 volunteers traveled to seven Boston public high schools for the Law Day in the Schools Program

With May fast approaching, PILP alumni are hard at work developing the elementary school and middle school/high school curriculum for the annual Law Day in the Schools Program. This year, volunteer attorneys will teach students about voting rights under the American Bar Association theme “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.”

Beyond the Billable checked in with Sheryl Howard (Krokidas & Bluestein LLP), a former PILPer who is developing on the high school and middle school curriculum, to get the inside scoop on what to expect this year.

Here’s what she had to say:

Why did you volunteer to help develop the curriculum?

“I taught high school in Oklahoma for a brief period of time, so working on the curriculum is a chance to get back to my teaching roots. This year’s topic – voting rights – has such an important history and will likely be an important issue for years to come. During a meeting of the group working on the high school curriculum, one member mentioned that, at other points in time, the entire working group would have been denied the vote. The challenge is to find a way to engage elementary to high school students on this issue in a way that is meaningful and interesting.”

Why should attorneys volunteer for the Law Day in the Schools Program?

“First, it is tremendous fun, and the students can really surprise you. A few years back, my class was discussing what rights should be in a constitution, and one student made a passionate case for greater property rights for 8 year olds. It’s a chance to talk about what we do as lawyers (and to perhaps inspire the next generation). Younger students may not have a clear picture of what lawyers do, and some students may have few positive contacts with the legal profession. This year’s topic – voting rights – is particularly timely. Last, the project involves a very short time commitment. There is virtually no prep time; the lesson plan will be provided. All you have to do is show up!”

Thank you to the following PILP alumni who volunteered their time to help develop the interactive curriculum on voting rights:

Elementary School
Darren Braham, Prince Lobel Tye LLP
Dara Kesselheim, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Lucy Rivera
Sherley Rodriguez, Greater Boston Legal Services
Matt Welnicki, Melick & Porter, LLP

High School/Middle School
Ann Braga, City of Boston
Jane Harper, State Street Corporation
Sheryl Howard, Krokidas & Bluestein LLP
Bonnie McGuire, FINRA
Katie Milton, Casa Myrna Vazquez

Are you interested in volunteering? Contact Katie D’Angelo at [email protected] for more information.

A Year in Photos

The BBA has had a quite a year of public service. For a look back at our members’ commitment to the community, take a look at the photos below:

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In January 2013, the John & Abigail Adams Benefit raised over $560,000. That amount helped to fund grants to 24 Massachusetts community organizations providing legal services in areas such as immigration, domestic violence and homelessness.

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The BBA held two free Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) trainings during the winter to certify nearly 100 lawyers to accept cases for limited representation. LAR provides an opportunity for attorneys to gain valuable courtroom experience, and most importantly, more people with unresolved legal issues that require representation receive the help they need. Attorneys received certification in the Probate and Family Court, Land Court, Housing Court, and Boston Municipal Court.

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In 2013, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program more than doubled in size, reaching nearly 1,300 students across Massachusetts with the help of 158 volunteers.

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Lisa Menelly (Raytheon Company) traveled to Mozart Elementary School in Roslindale to teach Ms. Pearl-Haynes’s 4th grade class about the 2013 Law Day in the Schools theme “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All.” From May 1st-3rd, 41 volunteer attorneys traveled to seven Boston public schools to teach 782 students about the topic.

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Members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) leveraged the resources of the bar to launch the Community Reentry Readiness Program through the Federal Court to provide information to federal probationers on key civil-legal issues that they will face when re-entering society.

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After the tragic events on Marathon Monday, the BBA offered pro bono legal assistance to small business and victims affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. The BBA recruited over 200 attorneys, firms, and law schools who were eager to help. The BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service received 70 calls and through collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, the BBA volunteer attorneys assisted 63 small business owners and victims with legal matters in the wake of the Boston Marathon events.  In addition, the BBF demonstrated its commitment to Boston by donating $25,000 to the One Fund to further assist victims.

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On June 6th, members of the BBA’s Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) hosted a groundbreaking symposium addressing the emerging legal and community-based issues associated with human trafficking. The event drew in over 125 attendees and national press coverage.

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This year, 32 diverse law students participated in the Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Judicial Internship Program which places students in local courts including the Boston Municipal Court, Probate & Family Courts and US Bankruptcy Court.

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In its 20th year, the BBA Summer Jobs Program placed a record-breaking 58 Boston public high school students in paid positions at Boston law firms, legal departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. This year, the BBF increased its commitment to the program by funding paid positions for 13 students at non-profit community organizations, government offices and courts.

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Pro Bono Month, which happens every October, was jam-packed with trainings and volunteer opportunities to encourage attorneys to give back to our community. The BBA held five pro bono trainings that prepared 206 attorneys and law students to engage in pro bono work and connected 250 new attorneys and law students with 28 Boston-area legal service agencies through a Pro Bono Fair.

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On September 1, 2013, the BBA Lawyer Referral Service became the new home of the Military Legal Help Line, which was established to connect veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources appropriate to their needs. The service refers callers to qualified attorneys offering reduced fee and pro bono legal assistance or the appropriate government or non-profit agency. In an effort to prepare attorneys to help with these reduced fee and pro bono cases, the BBA held a four-part CLE series this fall on topics including, family law, labor and employment, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, trusts and estates, and education benefits.

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On November 20th, BBA President Paul T. Dacier joined over 150 of Boston’s leaders in visiting Boston Public Schools (BPS) to gain a firsthand look at the successes and challenges of the city’s school system as part of the BPS Principal for a Day Program. Paul shadowed William Thomas, the headmaster of Charlestown High School, for the morning. Charlestown High School is one of the largest high schools in Boston with 954, 39% of its student body is Limited English Proficient, and 46% of students qualify for free or reduced-priced school meals.

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The BBA President Paul Dacier and BBA Executive Director Rich Page joined Mayor Thomas Menino along with the current representatives and alumni of the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) at the 20th Anniversary Celebration on November 29th. As you may know, the BBA is a longstanding partner of the MYC, combining efforts with the City of Boston and Northeastern University.