"You guys are rock stars"

Just what could prompt Professor Sam Marcosson to say this about a group of University of Louisville law students?

You guys are rock stars — I'm so proud of you, I could bust. Beyond awesome. You did such a great job, something important and that will help the law school make a difference.

Read more after the pictures and the fold in this page:

Answer: This Courier-Journal article about those students' work at Central High School:

A legal helping hand: U of L students work with Central High School classes

During a recent class period in Joe Gutmann's senior law magnet class at Central High School, students were presented with a mock First Amendment case involving T-shirts encouraging breast cancer awareness.

While the students researched the case and worked on presenting the facts to a mock U.S. Supreme Court, they had some help from students at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

The collaboration between the law students and the senior-level class at Central began in early September as part of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a national program that sends upper-level law students into high schools to teach the U.S. Constitution using Supreme Court cases involving young people.

In addition to the seniors being guided by U of L law students, Gutmann created a similar program for his sophomore and junior classes to be taught by lower-level law students. The sophomores are being taught the basics of the law, while the juniors are being taught about land-use management.

"The law students provide a great perspective to the high school students about what college and law school is really like," said Gutmann, who is a lawyer and has taught at Central for six years. "It has been a tremendous success up to this point."

Michael Denbow, a third-year law student who worked with the seniors, called the program a "wonderful thing."

"We helped them write a class constitution and how to put together oral arguments, we conducted several mock trials and used the Internet to discuss a lot of the current law cases that were taking place at the time," Denbow said. "I feel really privileged to have participated — it was a great way of giving them a different perspective and it also allowed me to be kind of like a mentor."

Denbow and the other four upper-level law students who worked with the high school seniors received two college credits for their participation. The law students who are working with the sophomores and juniors are getting credit toward their community service requirement from U of L.

Christien Russell, 16, a sophomore in the law magnet, said she has enjoyed the partnership.

"It's a great opportunity because we are learning from people who are closer to our age," she said. "I really enjoy when we are given different cases and we have to discuss and debate them."

Gutmann said one of the goals of the partnership is to expose more students with diverse backgrounds to the legal profession so they may pursue it as a possible career. Central High School is the only school with a law magnet program in Jefferson County Public Schools.

Before the law students came into the classroom in September, they received training from educators on teaching strategies and techniques.

In all, about 20 law students from U of L have participated so far.

And while the upper-level law students have finished teaching the seniors, the program of other law students working with sophomores and juniors will continue through the end of the school year.