ASK Welcomes 36 Youth Court Members

Thirty-six students were honored Wednesday night as graduates of the Alliance for Safe Kids (ASK) Youth Court Class of 2017.

“Students from Yorktown and Lakeland brought their enthusiasm and attention to a rigorous training program,” said Nancy Levin, Director of Youth Court. “I am so very proud of the work they did: learning public speaking; perfecting their interview skills; learning about police procedures and reporting; learning about the court process; and how to litigate as Youth Court members. We also had wonderful past graduates attend the many sessions as interns to train and provide their experience and input.” 

“I joined Youth Court because I am interested in studying criminal justice and law enforcement,” said Alexander Cignarella, 8th 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.”

Sean Bussell, Sophomore at Lakeland High School, added “I like to give back to my community and feel that I’m making a difference in people’s lives. 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 including: The Honorable Judge Gary Raniolo; Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace; County Legislator Michael Kaplowitz; County Legislator John Testa; Assemblyman Kevin Byrne; Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman; Yorktown Councilman Vishnu Patel; Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana; Yorktown Police Chief Robert Noble; Yorktown Police Detective Sean Lewis; Yorktown Police Detective Brian Shanahan; Yorktown Chief Court Clerk Isabel Klein; and Deputy Court Clerk Maria Ricci.


Leaders from the local school districts were in attendance including Yorktown Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Lisa O’Shea; James Van Develde, Director of Communications at Lakeland Central School District; and Lydia Whitney, Youth Court Advisory Board and Yorktown High School Student Assistance Counselor. Also in attendance were members from the ASK Youth Court Advisory Board, Liz Greene, Ellen Pinto, and David Squirrel, Esq.

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

The ceremony was hosted by the Alliance for Safe Kids and 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