Alumnus Jim Acosta and ABA President Bob Carlson Celebrate Law Day at Annandale High School

School News
June 12, 2019

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. 

Jim AcostaLaw 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. 

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.