Speakers at a virtual event celebrating the culmination of this summer's Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Youth Corps program included, clockwise from top left: Massachusetts Bar Foundation President Richard Grahn, Massachusetts Bar Association President Denise I. Murphy, attorney James Rosseel and Hon. Mark D Mason.
High school students from Worcester and Springfield celebrated the culmination of this summer’s Supreme Judicial Court’s Judicial Youth Corps (JYC) program on Friday, Aug. 13, at a virtual JYC Appreciation Day ceremony.
The JYC program teaches young people about the role of the judicial branch and the legal values and principles on which our judicial branch of the government is based. The SJC, in cooperation with the MBA, established the JYC program for high school students in Worcester and Springfield, which is modeled after the highly successful program in Boston that began in 1991.
While this year has been a challenge for many organizations and programs due to the pandemic, the JYC program was able to offer a six-week virtual program designed primarily for students who have an interest in the law and were prepared to do significant work refining their mock trial and oral advocacy skills. This year, the virtual summer internship was conducted over Zoom, where students participated in mock trials, mock hearings on two suppression motions and mock appellate oral arguments. They also engaged in discussions with guest speakers about various legal issues and topics.
During the JYC Appreciation Day ceremony, the Honorable Mark D Mason, associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court and a past president of the MBA, set a celebratory tone as master of ceremonies. In addition to welcoming the attendees, he facilitated an engaging discussion with the students and provided a wonderful historical overview of the JYC program, which was established by former SJC Chief Justice Paul J. Liacos.
MBA President Denise I. Murphy also addressed the attendees, noting, “This summer’s program was far from typical, and I am proud that the JYC program was able to adapt and provide an exceptional virtual learning experience for students during this accelerated six-week virtual program.”
She thanked the SJC for its ongoing partnership on the program and also praised the volunteer judges who worked with the program, including James and Luke Rosseel, the father and son team who oversaw and coordinated the combined Worcester and Springfield JYC program, and MBA Community & Public Services Director Elizabeth O’Neil, who administers the Worcester and Springfield programs with assistance from MBA staff member Keith West.
Murphy added, “We’re also indebted to our philanthropic partner and sponsor of the Worcester/Springfield JYC programs, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, led by MBF President Richard Grahn and Executive Director Susannah Thomas, for their ongoing financial support and flexibility during the pandemic.”
In addition to remarks from Mason and Murphy, the ceremony also featured remarks from Grahn and closing remarks from James and Luke Rosseel.