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Court internship program ends with closing awards ceremony

August 21, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The 2018 Kings County Courts Student Youth Employment Program held its annual closing ceremony on Tuesday with an awards program. Pictured are this year’s Outstanding Workers (from left): Suraj Sahadeo, Farooq B. Ahmodu, Helen Hung and Patrice Brown with Hon. Robin Sheares. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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The first time Patrice Brown stepped inside the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term, she was nervous. It’s hard to blame her — the building is built like a fortress, with security up front and some of the biggest murder cases inside.

However, after Brown wrapped up her third internship inside the court, she now looks at the building almost like home. After all, that is where she spends her time with her court family.

“When I first came to the courts I thought it was a big, scary place because all you hear about is people getting locked up,” Brown said. “But then when you work here, you see both sides of the defense and prosecution, plus you work with the judges and they do something totally different. It opened my eyes to a lot of things.

“I remember the first serious case I saw was a rape case, and I’ll admit that I was scared. You grow with people and working with Charmaine Johnson is like working with my older sister. We might be doing 10 different things at once, but we work well with each other.”

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The Kings County Courts Summer Youth Employment Program ended on Tuesday with a closing ceremony where students were honored for the hard work they put in to the court system over their six-week internship.

More than 50 local high school and college students take part in the internship each year, and they receive awards based on various competitions and events that take place over the summer.

This year’s ceremony, which took place in the ceremonial courtroom of the Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term, featured a handful of speakers including Hon. Deborah Dowling, Chief Clerk, Civil Term, Charles Small, First Deputy Chief Clerk, Civil Term, Donna Farrell, and Hon. Robin Sheares. Intern Dildora Uktamova served as the mistress of ceremony and entrepreneur Peter Ivey served as the keynote speaker.

Ivey titled his talk with the students: “The Importance of Writing Your Own Story.” He opened the talk by admitting that he was nervous himself, standing in front of the students and about a dozen judges and even more court staff. He admitted that the last time he stood in front of a judge, it was after he was arrested.

“That’s part of the reason why it’s important to write your own story. I wouldn’t let the court system write my story for me,” Ivey said. “If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you don’t grow. If you don’t grow, you don’t move, and if you don’t move you become furniture and you have to wait until someone moves you.”

Ivey, an entrepreneur who grew up in Jamaica before moving to the United States toward the end of high school, said that he likes speaking with groups of young people because at his age, he feels they can still relate to him. Afterward, he said that he’s even a little jealous of this particular group of students because of the awesome opportunity the internship provides them.

“I did not have any internships when I grew up,” Ivey said. “I grew up in Jamaica and came here right after high school. I never had this opportunity and it is important to be able to help them see what they have here. This is a great internship. I wish I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with judges and lawyers the way these kids have.”

Updated (9/4/2018): In the original edition of this article the subject Peter Ivey was misquoted. This article has been updated to reflect Ivey’s actual quote. The Brooklyn Eagle regrets this error.


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