By John Lynds
For 40 years the East Boston Division of the Boston Municipal Court has celebrated Law Day and teamed up with local schools to expose students to the local court, its inner workings and how the court process works.
This year students from grade schools in Eastie and Winthrop took part in the annual Law Day celebration with First Chief Justice of the East Boston Court, the Honorable Judge John McDonald Jr., last Thursday evening at the Courthouse.
Over the course of a month, students from Eastie and Winthrop competed in the annual coloring book, poster contest and oratory competitions. Last Thursday’s event was the culmination of Eastie’s annual Law Day contests. At the event, the first, second and third place winners of each competition was announced.
“This is wonderful community and I’m so happy to be here in East Boston,” Judge McDonald told the students and families last week. “Law Day is so special to us here at the court because it allows us to bring the court and community together not only to celebrate the law but to celebrate these wonderful students and their accomplishments this year.”
Last week’s event also gave the court the opportunity to thank Nicholas Tsiotos for all his work during the annual East Boston Law Day as a teacher at the James Otis School in Eastie for the past 30 years. Longtime local attorney David Bell was also honored and receives the Judge Ferrino Award from Judge Joseph Ferrino, Speaker Robert DeLeo and Judge McDonald.
In his remarks to the students and families Judge McDonald said he was beyond impressed by the level of commitment each student exhibited during the competitions and thanked their family and teachers for being a driving force in their success.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo echoed Judge McDonald’s remarks and said he could tell right away after talking with the students, their family members and teachers that they are on the path to a successful educational career.
“You can be anything you want in life and I’m hear tonight to tell you that,” said DeLeo. “This is such a great event and its because of you, the students, teachers and families, that it is such a great event. I can’t stress how impressed I am that at such a young age what you students have been able to accomplish because you’ve worked hard. It is that combination of working hard and having access to a good education that will allow you to become whatever you want no matter where you are from, where you live or what your circumstances are.”
The court in Eastie has been celebrating Law Day since 1976 with special events for local students. In the U.S. Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a response to the international celebration of May Day- a day to remember the struggles of workers who were killed or oppressed in their fight for better wages and working conditions.
Because May Day was perceived as a communist celebration during the height of the Cold War, Eisenhower established Law Day as a way to dissuade citizens from being inspired by the populist tones of May Day.
However, the court’s Chief Probation Officer wishes more schools and students get involved in the annual celebration.
“I think law day is a great opportunity for the students to actively learn about the judicial branch in a positive way,” said Chief Probation Officer Thomas Tassinari. “I only wish more schools would participate. In the last 4 years we have lost many schools and despite our outreach some just don’t want to get involved”.