Law & Justice

ASK Youth Court Readies Yorktown Teens for Careers in Law Enforcement


YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Three dozen students from Lakeland and Yorktown schools were honored Wednesday, Feb. 15, as graduates of the Alliance for Safe Kids Youth Court Class of 2017.

The six-week volunteer program, started in 2007, teaches students about the law, the judicial process, public speaking, crime scene investigation and more. It is organized and run by teens, adjudicating misdemeanor cases involving other teens with the goal of reducing juvenile delinquency. Youth Court members serve in the roles of judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, jury, clerk and bailiff.

“I joined Youth Court because I am interested in studying criminal justice and law enforcement,” said Alexander Cignarella, eighth grader at Mildred E. Strang Middle School. “Reading about a career gives you an idea of what it’s like, talking about it with someone gives you even greater insight, but nothing compares to actually doing it. I want to experience the justice system first hand, from the right side of the bench.”

Sign Up for E-News

The comprehensive training is overseen by professionals in the field, including police officers, social workers, members of the district attorney’s office, and other sectors of the legal community. It concludes with a mock trial and bar exam to ensure that the volunteer members have achieved the necessary knowledge and confidence to fulfill their roles. The program has graduated 187 students in its 10 years.

“I like to give back to my community and feel that I’m making a difference in people’s lives,” said Sean Bussell, dophomore at Lakeland High School. “ By joining Youth Court, I’d like to use and improve my leadership skills in working with my peers and with youth offenders.”

The ceremony was attended by many local dignitaries and school officials.

“The local community was truly exceptional in supporting this program when our own Yorktown Justices, police and local attorneys contributed their time and expertise,” said Nancy Levin, director of the Youth Court. “This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to learn and grow and this year was an excellent experience for all.”

The ceremony was held at Yorktown Justice Court. The class of 2017 is:

  • Colin Bard, Yorktown High School
  • Benjamin Brown, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • Matthew Buchwald, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
  • Michael Buchwald, Lakeland High School
  • Sean Bussell, Lakeland High School
  • Noelle Cegielski, Yorktown High School
  • Joey Christensen, Yorktown High School
  • Alexander Cignarella, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • Liam Colgan, Yorktown High School
  • Matthew D’Amaso, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
  • Erin Dahlke, Yorktown High School
  • Alex DeBenedictis, Yorktown High School
  • Nicholas DeMarsh, Yorktown High School
  • Matthew Frogel, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
  • Alyssa Giannasca, Yorktown High School
  • Nabil Kamal, Yorktown High School
  • Samuel Kaplan, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • Lauren Kitts, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • Daniel Koch, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • David Kollbeck, Lakeland High School
  • Madison Levine, Yorktown High School
  • Allie Markman, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
  • Tyler Merson, Yorktown High School
  • Ben Moffat, Yorktown High School
  • Celia Nash, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • Elizabeth O’Donnell, Yorktown High School
  • Daniel O’Meara, Yorktown High School
  • Ava Pagliaro, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
  • Grace Pearce, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • Ashley Poe, Yorktown High School
  • Spencer Poe, Yorktown High School
  • Nicole Rabadi, Yorktown High School
  • Erica Savoca, Yorktown High School
  • Nicholas Scalera, Mildred E. Strang Middle School
  • Ian Schwartz, Yorktown High School
  • Timothy Stewart, Mildred E. Strang Middle School

For more information, visit

All photos by Tabitha Pearson Marshall

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


The Hatch Act and Immigration Updates

This is for information purposes only. So, when you see headlines like the recent “Kellyanne Conway cited for two violations of the Hatch Act,” you will have a working knowledge of what it means. First off, what is the Hatch Act? This has nothing to do with Orrin Hatch, senator from Utah. Simply put, it states one cannot advocate for or against candidates while serving in an official ...

Are We All Connected?

A question that has long plagued me is whether we, as a species, have evolved in our consciousness of our interconnectedness to one another.

Influential philosophers, writers, economists and politicians have debated whether that should be our focus in the first place. Writers such as Ayn Rand (“The Fountainhead”) and her followers have suggested that our center of attention should ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

Whose Hypocrisy?

March 7, 2018

Councilman Ed Lachterman has an unbridled First Amendment right to critique actions of the new Town Board majority and administration (Feb. 22, “An ‘air of hypocrisy’ at town hall”). But in the court of public opinion, his comments will fare poorly before those who respect objective truth.

The councilman’s political self-interest in the manufacture of non-issues ...

When It's Not OK to Ask If Everything's OK

There is this thing that I do that annoys the heck out of my family. Well, to be honest, there are a lot of things I do that annoy the heck out of my family, but I am thinking of one thing in particular.

Whenever someone is in the bathroom for what I determine to be an abnormally long period of time, I stand outside the bathroom door and yell,


I ...

Reading Across America With Dr. Seuss

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’m a school librarian and I wanted to remind your readers that March 2 was “Read Across America Day.”  Teachers, librarians and others who read with children encourage schools, libraries and parents to celebrate this day with their children. This special date was chosen because it is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the adored children’s author. That ...

Hold Con Edison Accountable

March 14, 2018

To the editor,

I am writing to suggest that my fellow residents assist in holding Con Edison responsible for its disastrous handling of these storms and, further, to support steps that would ensure these now common shortcomings are not repeated.

Like too many here, I, my wife and three children ages 5, 3, and 8 months have been without power for more than a week. That we could live within ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

OAC Steamer Co. Firehouse, Ossining

2018 Living Art Event

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, March 24, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Seton Holds First Social Fundraiser

March 14, 2018

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton school, 1375 East Main St., Shrub Oak will be hosting it's first ever Social Fundraiser on Friday, May 4th, 2018 in the Seton school gym.  Seton extends it's invitation to all to join in a night of food, fun, and dozens of raffles and silent auctions.  Entry tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets purchased by April 6th will be $35 per person; ...