JERSEYVILLE - JCHS Law students heard from a special guest speaker on Wednesday morning when Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White gave a presentation and spoke with students in the school’s auditorium.
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Kevin Strebel, who teaches Law at JCHS, said this opportunity was a win-win for Justice White and his students.
“The 4th Appellate District in Illinois is 41 counties, and Justice White has a desire to meet the people in the district,” Strebel said. “This was an opportunity for her to do that, and for our students to talk to a professional at the top of her profession.”
Strebel said Justice White’s visit also gave students a better understanding of the state-level court, which may not make headlines as often as the local or national-level courts.
“I don't think the average citizen knows much beyond what happens at the local courthouse,” Strebel said. “I think that many of us would be more likely to recognize the name of a justice from the U.S. Supreme Court than the Illinois Supreme Court.”
Justice White’s presentation mainly focused on the Illinois Judicial System and how trials and appeals are adjudicated, but she also discussed the concept of deferred gratification, Strebel said. Even as a longtime teacher of Law, Strebel said he still learned a few things from Justice White.
“I have been teaching the Law class for a couple of decades and I learned a lot from Justice White's presentation, so I think it is clear that the students also learned a great deal about the system,” he said. “She encouraged them to work hard and sacrifice in their academic and professional lives for a reward that can take years to attain.”
Most JCHS students take a Law class during their senior year. Whether or not they’re pursuing a career in the legal field, such as a lawyer or police officer, Strebel said the class has practical applications for any career.
“The class is really tailored to simply understanding how laws and the legal system can impact students during their adult lives,” Strebel said. “For example, what should you do if the police arrest you, or your neighbor sues you? We hope it helps students avoid legal problems, or to understand how to react in what will be a stressful situation.”
Strebel said in an unrelated email from a student, they wrote: "I thought the presentation was cool and interesting ... please tell Mrs. White that I said thank you."
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