Alumnus Jim Acosta and ABA President Bob Carlson Celebrate Law Day at Annandale High School
Annandale High School hosted CNN’s Jim Acosta, an AHS and A-Blast alumnus, and American Bar Association president Bob Carlson on May 1 for Law Day 2019.
Law Day, listed on the FCPS Calendar of Noteworthy Events, is the national celebration initiated in 1959 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to recognize the Rule of Law. This year’s theme is #FreeSpeechFreePressFreeSociety.
Government and journalism students participated in an assembly that included an overview of the First Amendment, a presentation by Jim Acosta, and an interview with Acosta and two student journalists from The A-Blast, co-editor in chief Jude and arts editor Galilea. Acosta fondly remembered his days as an A-Blast reporter and warned about the real-world impact of social media bullying, stating "words matter."
Acosta also shared other experiences from his time on The A-Blast including the mysterious disappearance of a Pink Floyd mural on one of the walls of Annandale High School.
“I think that my experience at The A-Blast, in the case of the Pink Floyd mural, created for me a desire to strive to keep our officials accountable. In this case a teacher had painted over a mural without talking to the students,” Acosta said. “It’s that kind of belief that the people who are in charge of us ought to be held accountable.”
Students who asked Acosta questions during the question and answer portion of the event were able to garner new knowledge behind the world of journalism and the First Amendment. Questions ranged from those inquiring about Acosta’s personal experiences as CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent and interacting with the President to general questions regarding the fundamentals of journalism and freedom of speech.
“It was really insightful to be able to ask Mr. Acosta questions about his experiences working with the White House as part of the media as well as hearing his opinions on current events,” sophomore Khadija Ahmed said.
Annandale HS parents Julie Strandlie (Lemens) and Terry Adams and the ABA, FCPS, Annandale faculty, and students collaborated to organize the event. Social Studies Department Chair Meg Richburg and International Baccalaureate (IB) Government teacher Kellie Burke led the effort for AHS.
The School Board (April 25), the Board of Supervisors (April 9), and the Governor issued Proclamations recognizing Law Day 2019. (See below.)
The ABA president each year picks a theme and the association's Division for Public Education creates a planning guide and lesson plans for K-12 programs. Next year's theme celebrates the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment. Annandale student leaders are already looking forward to organizing the 2020 Law Day program. Parents, teachers, or students interested in learning more about Law Day and how a school can participate should contact Julie Strandlie or School Board member Karen Keys-Gamarra.
WHEREAS, Law Day is a “day of national dedication to the principles of government under law,” as stated by President Dwight Eisenhower, who established the first nationwide commemoration in 1958; and
WHEREAS, the 2019 Law Day theme “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society” enables us to reflect on the way that freedom of speech and freedom of the press provide the foundation for our free society; and
WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”; and
WHEREAS Law Day is on the Fairfax County Public Schools Notable Events calendar and its tenets are imbedded in the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate pillar of the Ethical and Global Citizen who understands the foundations of our country and values our rights, privileges, and responsibilities while demonstrating empathy, compassion, and respect for others; and,
WHEREAS Fairfax County Public Schools welcomes American Bar Association President Bob Carlson, other top ABA leaders and alumnus Jim Acosta to Annandale High School for Law Day 2019 and applauds the multiple events taking place in our schools to commemorate this day;
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Fairfax County School Board recognizes Wednesday, May 1, 2019, as Law Day and encourages our schools, community, and businesses to celebrate, preserve, and strengthen these principles that form the foundation of our free society, I so move.
Board of Supervisors Resolution
WHEREAS, Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower and designated by the U.S. Congress in 1961 as May 1; and
WHEREAS, Law Day celebrates the rule of law and provides an opportunity to understand how law and the legal process protect our liberty, strive to achieve justice and contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share; and
WHEREAS, the 2019 Law Day theme — Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society — focuses on our cornerstones of representative government and calls on us to understand and protect these rights to ensure, as the U.S. Constitution proposes, “the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity”; and
WHEREAS, the 2019 Law Day theme enables us to reflect on the way that freedom of speech and freedom of the press provide the foundation for our free society;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, on behalf of all residents of Fairfax County, does hereby proclaim Wednesday, May 1, 2019, as Law Day in Fairfax County and urges all resident, schools and businesses to use this occasion to preserve and strengthen the rule of law.
Sharon Bulova, Chairman
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
May 1, 2019