Beach Channel Takes It To Court
Cutting the ribbon in front of the new Beach Channel High School Law Center are (left to right) Congressman Gregory Meeks, Superintendent John Lee, District Attorney Richard Brown, Principal Bernard Gassaway, students Eric Maddox and Brian Kirchein, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Lucille Maddox.
By John McLoughlin
Students and faculty of Beach Channel High School played host to community leaders at the opening of the school's new Law Center on Wednesday, January 12. The ribbon cutting ceremony of the Beach Channel High School Law Center was attended by more than 100 people, including Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Judge Jean Fox, Assistant Chief Joseph Fox of Patrol Borough Queens South, Captain Gary Scirica of the 100 Precinct, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, and Queens High School Superintendent John Lee.
The Law Center will house many activities related to Beach Channel's new Law Institute, which will begin offering courses in February. The facility is an actual courtroom dismantled and transported from a Queens County courthouse. It was reassembled and refurbished by the students of Robert Schropp, a teacher at Beach Channel. The courtroom also includes a judge's chamber, jury room, and observation classroom, which will make it possible to establish an educational institute that will provide a four year, law-oriented program to students.
"This dream of mine is beginning to come true," said Principal Bernard Gassaway. "We want to link our excellent oceanography and environmental science program with courses dealing with legal issues related to those area. Our collaboration with Southampton College and its nationally recognized program in marine and environmental science will help guide us in the planning and implementation of quality courses."
Howard Galin, a social studies teacher for 26 years who has a long and accomplished history at Beach Channel, will oversee the Law Institute. Saying "educated students make the best citizens," Galin explained that students in the Law Institute will complete state mandated social studies courses plus additional courses in international, federal, state and consumer law during their time at Beach Channel.
Beginning in the fall of 2000, students from throughout the city will have the opportunity to apply for admission to the Beach Channel Law Institute Program.
Gassaway was credited by those who attended the ceremony for having the vision to move such an ambitious project forward. "You come to Beach Channel High School and believe we have a strong future…in the right direction," Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer said.
"There are so many people who made this facility a reality," said Gassaway. "Richard Brown made things materialize and John Pellegrano of School Facilities put them together. It is up to us to make it all a part of realizing our students' dreams."