Just under 100 students got certificates at a Kings County Courts closing ceremony last Wednesday. The courts’ Student Employment and Internship program concluded with the celebration at the Supreme Courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn on Aug. 15.
For six weeks, high school and college students who meet the qualifications, are invited into the borough’s court system four days a week to work and assist court personnel in various fields within criminal, family, civil, and supreme courts, and the appellate division. The strict and disciplined program operates as a full-time position preparing students for potential careers in the legal field, said program coordinator.
“They have to come in as regular employees, and during that time they must also dress professionally, not have a criminal history, and must have a squeaky clean background,” said Charmaine Johnson.
The Student Employment and Internship program operates in conjunction with the city’s summer youth and employment program, where students citywide can apply. Throughout the duration of the program, students are tasked with a variety of duties, which include participating in mock trials and working with judges and attorneys.
At the ceremony, special guest speakers included Jamaican chef Peter Ivey, and former program intern, Gabriella Birzh.
The awards celebrated students with certificates for reaching feats such as perfect attendance and evaluation, adhering to professional attire requirements, task performance, weekly achievements, and meeting other skills. And some also received trophies and monetary gifts, according to Johnson.
After taking over the program three years ago, Johnson — a 28-year veteran of the court system hailing from Jamaica — says she is committed to continuing the work of her predecessor Izetta Johnson by seeking out the best students to experience working in the borough’s court system.