Izetta Johnson commemorated during court’s summer intern orientation
The Supreme Court of Kings County’s Student Employment and Internship Program for local high school students officially started with an orientation session on Tuesday, and organizers spent much of the program talking about the woman who started it all — Izetta Johnson.
“As you know, Ms. Johnson retired last year, and it is with deep sorrow that I tell you that she passed away this year, but this program will continue,” said Charmaine Johnson, who has taken over the program. “Izetta Johnson lived a meaningful and committed life of public service. She was a dedicated employee of the NYS Unified Court System for 35 years.
“Izetta developed and led many important projects, including this summer youth internship program that she started in 1989,” Charmaine continued. “She was committed to equality and opportunity, especially those for students.”
In addition to running the summer youth program, Izetta chaired and co-chaired many other programs and committees within the court system, including Take Your Child to Work Day, Career Day, Unity Day, the Gender Fairness Committee, Black History Month, Women’s History Month and others
“Izetta Johnson started this program a long time ago. Every year we came, she was here and put a lot of work into it,” said Charles A. Small, chief clerk for civil matters. “I’m happy that her memory lives on. Without her, I don’t think we would be here today, and even if we were, we wouldn’t be here in this fashion.”
Justice Deborah Dowling, who is running the summer internship program along with Charmaine Johnson, spoke about Izetta and also thanked Justice Matthew D’Emic for appointing Charmaine to replace Izetta.
“It’s kind of difficult, because it’s like going into a class where you’ve missed about three months of class, and you’re trying to catch up,” Dowling said of Charmaine. “She’s taken on this responsibility and she’s been working day and night to make sure that everything was in place for when you got here.”
“Izetta Johnson was the heart and soul of this program,” D’Emic said. “Thank God we have Charmaine and Judge Dowling to take over, but if your experience is anything like the experiences of past students, it’s going to be a wonderful summer for you.”
Eventually, the attention turned to the matter at hand — the more than 50 summer interns who were there for orientation. This group of students had to pass a series of skills tests and a one-on-one interview to get into the program. Over the next few weeks, they will work alongside various court employees, from court officers to judges, to learn about the different jobs the court has to offer.
“I want you all to know that this is a wonderful program,” said Justice Robin Sheares. “When I graduated from college, my first job [was] that summer [when] I was a summer youth employment coordinator. It was my job to go out to all the sites to make sure they were run properly, and I’m telling you that they were not run properly.
“Eventually, I got a job as a court attorney here, and when I saw this summer youth program, I thought, ‘This is how it’s supposed to be done,’” Sheares continued. “Izetta Johnson did it right, and Charmaine Johnson will make it better.”
Chief Clerk for Civil Matters Dan Alessandrino, Chief of Citywide Operations Michael Magliano and Deputy Fire Safety-Security Director Alaya Gaddy all addressed the students about what to expect in the upcoming weeks.
“There is a lot that you are going to take from this experience,” Alessandrino said. “You are our future workforce, so we want you to be prepared when you go out there. We want you to speak appropriately, dress appropriately, follow the rules — they’re all good exercises to prepare you for what people will expect from you.”
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