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President’s Letter

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ALAJuly’16 Newsletter

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ALA December 2015 Newsletter ~ ALA Today

See What’s Inside:

President’s Greeting

Registration Form for the San Diego Mid-Year Meeting!!!!  Register NOW!

San Diego Events

Book Donation ~ Olive Crest






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2016 ALA Mid-Year Meeting

Dear ALA members ,

Happy New Year. I hope your holidays had lots of happiness and sparkle.

We have had busy ALA members planning our meetings and extracurricular activities in San Diego February 3 – 5. Quite a few of us are arriving early and staying on a bit to enjoy more of the sights. More of that enticing information will come from Janet Bullinger, our stalwart leader in fun and food activities.

The nitty gritty of the meeting time is as follows.

Wednesday afternoon, February 3 will be meetings of the TOY Committee (Kitty O’Reilly, Chair), the Carr Committee (Sue Bennett, Chair) and the Executive Committee (Sue Patterson, Chair). Members of those committees will receive more information about meeting places, times and agendas. If you have information or issues you would like to be considered by those committees, please send that to the Chairs.

Thursday morning, February 4 will be a business meeting followed by a luncheon honoring Janet Bullinger, ALA Outstanding Individual Volunteer Award, and Sharon Chappelear, Lifetime Achievement Award. These ladies make us proud to be part of such a terrific organization and humble us in their dedication. Join us as the ALA in recognizes them. The afternoon and evening we will continue celebrating.

Friday morning we will welcome the designated recipient of our Book Donation Program. Then we will congratulate Local and State Auxiliaries that have qualified for the ALA Auxiliary Support Awards. These are truly wonderful experiences for those attending. I must admit to having leaky eyes when hearing their stories.

I am so excited to see everyone. It is amazing how much we can work into such a short time. It is even more amazing how quickly we bond as friends. There is still time to register and make plans to attend if you have not done that. There are incredible, fun memories that can be yours for just a click of the button.

So here is to a new year, here is to friendship and here is to growth in ALA.

Sue Patterson



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September 2015 Newsletter ~ ALA Today

See what’s trending in the September edition of ALA Today!!!

President’s Message

2015 ALA Teacher of the Year Award Winners

Happy Birthdays

Highlights for the ALA Annual Meeting

And much more……..

ALASeptember2015-8 2

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The AMERICAN LAWYERS ALLIANCE is proud to announce the donation of over 100 children’s books to KALEIDOSCOPE 4 KIDS!!  This presentation was made during the Annual Meeting of the ALA while in Chicago.  Kathy Grezlak, the Executive Director of Kaleidoscope 4 Kids, received the books and shared the kaleidoscope story with our members.

Kathy Grezlak, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope 4 Kids accepts books from Sue Bennett, ALA President.

Kathy Grezlak, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope 4 Kids accepts books from Sue Bennett, ALA President.

Kaleidoscope is a nonprofit, charitable organization that has served Chicago youth since 1973.  Kaleidoscope was founded on the premise that youth with emotional and behavioral challenges would be better served in their home state.  The organization was created in response to a state practice which included sending children, who were identified as difficult to serve, outside of Illinois to reside in various facilities.  The Kaleidoscope philosophy evolved, and leadership recognized the children would fare better if they were served by the community rather than institutions.  Kaleidoscope continues to serve and nurture these youth in a home environment within local neighborhoods, meanwhile ensuring safety and providing resources.  The donated books will be shared with families and children, in hopes of encouraging quiet bonding experiences.

The American Lawyers Alliance is proud to support the efforts of Kaleidoscope 4 Kids!!

Books, books and more books!!

Books, books and more books!!

ALA June 2015 Newsletter ~ ALA TODAY

Important Deadlines Inside!!

ALA Annual Meeting ~ Schedule of Events ~ Chicago, July 29 – August 1

Message from the President ~ Sue Bennett

Announcing the Teacher of the Year Award Winners ~ 2015

Thank you to Amy Dunn Taylor

News from our Affiliate Auxiliaries

Past President’s Update ~ Anne Cleary 1988 – 1989

….and much, much more.  Enjoy!!!     ALAJune2015newsletter

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This issue highlghts the 2015 Mid-Year Meeting in Houston!  A Grand Time was had by ALL!!!

You will want to read this newsletter from cover to cover!!!



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They just couldn’t keep their eyes off the impressive collection.

The first time they saw them, some of Andy Merritt’s students at State College Area High School admitted, they were distracted by the historic posters, flags and quotes that cover about every inch of his classroom.

Now, they’re accustomed to the items — and Merritt. They say the erudite decorative scheme suits him, but he’s quick to point out who truly owns it all.

“That’s all the students’,” Merritt said. “I tell them at the beginning of the year it’s their classroom. It’s not my classroom. It’s theirs, and I work for them.”

In his 20th year as a history teacher at State High, and 24th overall in the classroom, Merritt starts another semester with a special accolade to his name. He recently was one of three educators to be named 2014 American Lawyers Alliance Law-Related Education Teacher of the Year.

Deb Poveromo, State High’s social studies coordinator, nominated him.

“The dynamic energy he brings to the classroom each and every day excites his students to learn about government, law and politics,” she wrote in her nomination letter.

Merritt deflected the recognition.

“Being a teacher, it’s not really about me, so I was reluctant at first to be nominated,” Merritt said. “It is really about the students, but I was surprised and honored to get the award. My family got to go to Boston to accept it, and that was an exciting trip for all of us.”

The award recognized Merritt for his contributions in law-related education.

During his career, Merritt has instituted several projects in which students simulate real-life scenarios and gain hands-on knowledge.

His “Amend the Constitution Experience” project challenges seniors to amend the U.S. Constitution. Students in Merritt’s classes also have opportunities to go to Penn State to conduct constitutional law trials, in which they prepare briefs and present arguments before law school faculty and students.

He also formed Creating Awareness Using Student Engagement, a State High organization dedicated to raising awareness of issues such as homelessness, poverty and AIDS.

“A champion for the underdog, always carrying the message for social justice, Mr. Merritt instills a passion in his students that carries on with them for the rest of their lives,” Poveromo wrote in her nomination.

In the middle of a recent second-period Advanced Placement U.S. government and politics class, Merritt reminded his students that it’s up to them to learn.

“On the first day of school, what did I tell you?” he said. “I can’t teach you anything. You’ve got to want it. You have the ability, all of you, to learn, and you’ve just got to want it.”

Merritt’s effect on students has been far-reaching.

Samir Sonti graduated from State High in 2005 and worked for three years as a union organizer. He is now earning a doctorate in history at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

“I wouldn’t be doing any of this if not for the influence he had on me,” Sonti said. “My whole trajectory in my education was influenced by him in ways I probably can’t articulate. He teaches you a lot, but he doesn’t teach you what to think. He encourages you to think about things. His class really made me think about inequality in the U.S. now compared to a very different U.S. 30 to 40 years ago.”

Tessa Kisenwether, a senior, said Merritt is one of her favorite teachers, as evidenced by the abundance of underlined passages and notes in her copy of “Plato’s Cave,” which the class recently read.

“He gives you the power to have your voice heard,” Kisenwether said. “It’s really empowering to have it run sort of like a college class.”

Merritt has given students at State High a voice for more than a decade.

During the 2004 election, he had students run in primaries as Democrats, Republicans and independents, which culminated in a three-way race.

Sonti won the mock presidential election by a slim margin.

“We debated the real issues,” Sonti said. “I grew from that experience, and I like to think that it had an impact on others for us to think about social issues that we may have thought were out of our league.”

Tori Staley, who graduated from State High in 2013, said Merritt helped create an independent study for another student and her to earn a science credit.

They studied political geography — how geography influences politics.

“He took time out of his day to do it, and it showed how much he cares for his students academically,” Staley said.

“But he also cared about us personally. He influenced where I went to school when it was definitely a stressful process. I talked to him a lot, and he just said he heard in my voice that Vermont is where I wanted to go.”

Staley, now a double major in political science and studio art with a minor in Spanish at the University of Vermont, wants to pursue a political career.

Matt Lachman, a Georgetown University law student, recalled Merritt’s frequent political assignments for students to study and take on the personality of senators to debate and vote on active bills. He said they took a questionnaire at the beginning of the school year, and Merritt assigned them a senator with opposing views for mock-Senate activities.

“I’d say it was a challenge, but in a good way,” Lachman said. “I thought it was neat, because you can learn more about someone’s different point of view. You learn more when you’re forced to break out of your own mold; he had us put into action what we were learning. He deserves every accolade he gets, because he was an inspiration to many students.”

Merritt’s reputation persuaded Valeriy Sukovatitsyn to take his class.

“I heard from my siblings how great of a teacher he was, and I thought, you know, I had to take his class,” Sukovatitsyn, a senior, said. “It’s a lot different from other classes. He gives you a lot of chances to speak about what you think.”

Greg Hopp, a sophomore who sits across from Sukovatitsyn in Merritt’s first-period history class, agreed.

“It’s always a great start to the day,” Hopp said.

Shawn Annarelli, Center Daily Times, September 14, 2014  Shawn Annarelli can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @Shawn_Annarelli.

Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2014/09/13/4351431/it-is-really-about-the-students.html?sp=/99/116/#storylink=cpy


ALA 2014 September Newsletter  ALA TODAY

See What’s Inside….

Message from the President

LRE Teacher of the Year Award Winners

2014Annual Meeting Highlights


Reminders and Deadlines

Much More

Check Us Out!!!ALA2014SeptNewsletter




We are looking for a member of your legal auxiliary/alliance who has gone far beyond their job description(s) to make your organization a better one; one who has remained hard working and dedicated and has remained in involved in your activities.

If you have someone in your club you would like to see honored we need to know about her.

Just send an informational paragraph or two, or more, highlighting her activities with your group as well as her outside activities, church, civic, etc.  Tell us why you think this person is deserving of the ALA Individual Volunteer Award for 2015.

Your nominee must have paid individual ALA membership dues for the current year.

The award will be presented at the Midyear ALA Meeting in February in Houston, Texas.  Please submit the name and information of your nominee very soon.  Nominations are due by November 15, 2014.   Send nominations to:

Martha Ann Franco, Chair

Outstanding Individual Volunteer Award

19 Sherborne Wood  

San Antonio, Texas 78218





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