Legal community celebrates 2018 Judicial Youth Corps graduates

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018
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Photo Credit: Cameron Woodcock
MBA Immediate Past President Jeffrey N. Catalano speaks to students at the Supreme Judicial Court’s 2018 Judicial Youth Corps program graduation.

At the John Adams Courthouse on Aug. 16, 36 high school students from Boston, Worcester and Springfield capped off a transformative learning experience with their graduation from the Supreme Judicial Court’s 2018 Judicial Youth Corps program. 

Launched by the SJC in Boston in 1991, the 12-week summer program combines weekly educational sessions with court-based internships to offer urban students a practical introduction to the judicial branch and the study of law. Together with the SJC, the Massachusetts Bar Association has administered the Worcester program since 2007, and more recently, facilitated the JYC’s 2014 expansion to Springfield under a partnership with Western New England University School of Law. The Massachusetts Bar Foundation acts as the primary sponsor of the Worcester and Springfield locations, while the Boston program receives support from the City of Boston's Youth Fund and the Boston Private Industry Council.

Presiding over the ceremony, SJC Associate Justice Kimberly S. Budd commended this year’s graduates for conducting themselves with a high level of maturity and decorum, even as many served in their first official jobs. Beyond working at their designated internship sites, students made field trips to police stations, jails and law firms, as well as competed in a mock trial in Suffolk Superior Court. 

Joining Budd in her praise of the graduating class was MBA Immediate Past President Jeffrey N. Catalano, who notably helped the JYC establish a renewed presence in Springfield following a one-year hiatus. “One of my proudest accomplishments in my year as MBA president was working with Chief Justice [Roderick] Ireland (Ret.) to return the JYC program to Springfield,” Catalano said. “What a pleasure it is for the MBA to be part of the JYC family.”

With an optimistic eye toward the future, Catalano told the assembled students, "Today we say ‘goodbye,’ but we hope to someday say ‘hello’ at your swearing-in ceremony.”

Catalano also recognized the leadership of attorney James Rosseel, the longtime Worcester program coordinator; and his counterpart in Springfield, Samuel Charron, assistant director and public interest coordinator of career services at Western New England University School of Law. On the MBA staff, Catalano similarly thanked Director of Public & Community Services Elizabeth O’Neil, who administers the Springfield and Worcester programs; Human Resources/Administration Manager Keith West; and Bar Services Liaison Pat Olier.

Throughout the event, students shared personal reflections on their JYC experiences over the last three months, reserving special acknowledgment for their families and professional mentors. Irankunda Roza, representing the Springfield program, delivered a rousing speech in which she expressed hope that her eventual career will allow her to “wake up every morning full of excitement and ready to learn.”

According to the SJC, the program has enrolled hundreds of students over its nearly 30-year history, during which time many former participants have found ensuing success in law, government, business, health care and academia.