There is no doubt that Elena Kagan's nomination caught the attention of many New Yorkers, but few had as much reason to take note as the students at her high school alma mater on the Upper East Side. NY1's Kristen Shaughnessy filed the following report.
There were cheers and clapping at Hunter College High School this morning as students watched as Elena Kagan, the school's 1977 student government president, was nominated as a Supreme Court justice.
“It's awesome. To think that she was, I don't know how many years ago, walking around here taking classes at this school and I'm doing that now and maybe someday I can do something that amazing," said senior Tyler Lewis.
“It is amazing thing to have this close tie with the government," added senior Daniel Charrow.
Yearbook photos from the 1970s show Kagan had big dreams even back then. There is a picture of her in a robe with a gavel.
“I would love to be on the Supreme Court one day. I don't know how realistic it is, but the fact that she did it is inspiring," said Cara Eckholm, a senior at Hunter College High School.
There were even more cheers when President Barack Obama mentioned that Kagan's brothers were in the audience during the announcement. Both are high school teachers in the city. Her brother Irving Kagan teaches Constitutional law at Hunter College High School.
“He is unbelievable,” said senior Sabrina Ghalili. “He has such a passion for Constitutional law. He sends us emails two or three times a day with articles about Con law happenings in the New York Times."
Kagan even took students to meet his sister during a trip to Washington last year. At the time, she was being vetted for the Supreme Court spot eventually taken by Sonia Sotomayor.
“She couldn't talk a lot because she was going through the process at the time, but seemed really great,” said high school senior Isabel Patkowski. “Everyone was really excited to meet her. Her brother is a really good teacher."
The Senate confirmation hearings are something these students will be watching closely.
“Every kid at Hunter is going to be proud to have someone they sort of know, have a connection to, if she in fact gets on the bench and, if not, it’s still a great honor to be nominated,” said senior Gianni Di Cioccio.