Judge and court employees take part in East New York school career day
A charter school in East New York held its first ever career day on Friday, Dec. 7. The school invited a Brooklyn judge and a few other members of the Kings County Supreme Court to speak with the children about potential jobs in the court system.
Hon. Robin Sheares, attorney Yvonne Pritchett and Charmaine Johnson were a part of the cohort of professionals who took a couple hours out of their day to speak with the juniors at Achievement First East Brooklyn High School.
“I remember [my first professional job], feeling overwhelmed and insecure,” said Giovani Escudero, the dean of college services at the school. “This event is so important because our students need to see themselves represented in different career fields. They need to see themselves represented at the table — whatever table that might be.”
There were a variety careers represented, including a few attorneys, at the event. Many of the students were excited to hear about Pritchett’s career as a prosecutor and the summer internship program that Johnson runs through the courts.
“After graduating college I worked for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor,” Pritchett explained to the students. “I was also a defense attorney for several years and then became a court attorney for a Supreme Court judge in the Brooklyn Supreme Court. [I am] a prosecutor that focuses on criminal law, but there are different areas of law. There is civil law. No matter what business you get into, you always run into a lawyer.”
Johnson, who went to high school at William H. Maxwell just a few blocks away, described some of the jobs available in the court and explained how the students can be successful if they are interested in an internship.
“What I’ve seen in the past is students come in and they don’t know how to act,” Johnson said. “There are certain things that you should know — how to come in on time, how to listen to instructions and how to attire yourself when you come into the court system.
“Students try to come in with colorful hair, ripped up jeans — we don’t accept that in the court,” she continued. “When you come for an interview, you should have a resume. Even if you’ve never worked before, you can go online and see what a student resume looks like.”
The students responded enthusiastically to Justice Robin Sheares, who made them try to guess what she did for a living before draping herself in her black judge’s robe.
“I grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and there were eight children, two parents and one bathroom,” Justice Sheares said. “We were ‘po.’ P-O. We could not afford the O and the R. Now I have three bathrooms just to myself. It’s funny to joke about now, but to live it wasn’t that fun.”
Justice Sheares explained that the biggest thing that the students can do to get a good career is continuing their education after high school and to listen to their teachers.
“You all know the saying, ‘I started from the bottom now I’m here,’” Justice Sheares said. “It’s a song, but it’s also a declaration. It doesn’t matter where you come from — it’s where you go. So how are you going to get there? You’re going to follow instructions. It doesn’t matter which school you go to. If you don’t learn how to follow instruction you’re not going to get where you have to go.”
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