A van load of John Sager Middle School GEAR UP students were treated to a fun-filled day on November 1st while attending the annual Youth & Justice Forum at Columbia Basin College. Two students, Lucas Hays and Levi Clements, found themselves face to face with Superior Court Judge Cameron Mitchell. Judge Mitchell shared with them the ins and outs of his long time tenure on the bench. He encouraged them to pursue a career in justice as a highly rewarding occupation. That’s the goal of the Forum to introduce middle and high school students to the varied careers in the judicial system. Presenters ranged from judges to lawyers to court reporters and interpreters to law enforcement detectives and canine officers to Washington State Supreme Court Justices.
The Forum provided two outstanding activities for student engagement: networking and a mock trial. Attendees played the “Passport Game”. They were to meet and network with as many Forum presenters as possible throughout the day. Xbox 360’s were given away as prizes. Cyrstan Marchel, Emily Knight, Dharma Mendoza, Tony Addington and Jhanae Bingham were all top networkers but missed out on the consoles. The mock trial provided each Sager Raider student to take on one of the court roles. Some were judges. Some were prosecutors, some defense attorneys and others were law enforcement officials. The trial process enabled the students to gain understanding on how things work and to put themselves in the shoes of those making decisions about people accused of crimes.
GEAR UP Student Achievement Specialist, Bob Young, found this year’s Forum to be the best one yet. He thought the lunch time talk by John Kelly on our “digital imprints” was good information for teenagers to hear. The Sager students were fully engaged all day and it was a treat to provide them this opportunity.