Valley Stream Central High School senior Solomon Akaeze has been selected to take part in Columbia Law School’s High School Law Institute for the fall semester. For the next few months, Solomon will spend his Saturdays learning the basics of law from law school students at the Ivy League institution. But it’s more than simply learning the ropes of criminal and constitutional law. The program helps students build confidence, refine their public speaking skills, and sharpen their logical thinking and legal reasoning.
Solomon became interested in law after plunging into activism two years ago, which soon grew into a passion of helping people in disadvantaged communities. Law, he said, is an avenue to accomplish that.
“What better act is there than to become a criminal defense lawyer to help others who might not know the ins and outs of the system they’re being put through,” he said. “I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see where this leads me.”
“He’s very active within the school and the community,” said Solomon’s guidance counselor Samantha Cipriano. “He’s been involved in groups such as the Black Student Union and Students Committed to Social Justice, and he has dedicated himself to seeking positive change for other members of the community.”
“Solomon embodies Central’s culture of high expectations,” said Central Principal Joseph Pompilio. “He is an outstanding young man who pursues educational opportunities with vigor and determination. His greatest attribute is self-reflection, a trait which has propelled him to be a leader and role model.”