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Lehigh Senior High School students participate in Law Day

February 27, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Students from three Lee County School District high schools had the opportunity to participate in the sixth annual Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Law Day, showcasing what the career path would entail.

Christina Harris Schwinn of Pavese Law Firm, and past chair of the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, said Junior Achievement Law Day was inspired by Junior Achievement's job shadow opportunities, which allow students to see firsthand what it would be like to work in certain fields.

"Being an attorney, developing a program around the law was a natural fit," she said. "Junior Achievement and I worked together with the Lee County Bar Association to design an annual Law Day program that provides students with an inside look into law-related careers."

Article Photos

Christina Harris Schwinn of Pavese Law Firm gathers with students for a tour of the Lee County Courthouse during Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida and the Lee County Bar Association’s Law Day 2019.

PHOTO PROVIDED

Schwinn said Junior Achievement empowers students to own their own economic success.

"Junior Achievement teaches students that they can be economically successful no matter what career they choose, so long as they understand personal finance," she said.

This year, 50 upper-class high school students from Lehigh Senior High School, Riverdale High School and South Fort Myers High School were invited to be a part of Law Day. Junior Achievement worked with schools that have a criminal justice, law programs, and/or academies in order to choose the students who took part.

Lehigh Senior High School senior Samaria Williams said with her mother being a teacher for law studies at Lehigh Senior, as well as a practicing attorney, it had always been a question if she wanted to follow in her footsteps for her career path.

The senior had the opportunity to attend Law Day both last year and this year to answer that question.

"The first year, the group I went with was definitely not as focused," she said. "It was better this year than last year. I enjoyed myself and I am glad I went."

With that said, as a junior her focus was more on good grades and taking tests. This year, as a senior her focus has been on college applications and what she wants to do with her future.

Students had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Lee County Courthouse and observe the justice system in motion, while also meeting with legal professionals.

The students began their day by hearing a presentation by the Clerk of Courts, which was followed by a tour of the clerk's office. Afterwards they took a tour of the jail, followed by a panel discussion led by three honorable Circuit Lee County judges.

Some of the professionals the students had the opportunity to speak with included Schwinn, Attorney Kelly Fayer and Lee County Bar Association President John Webb.

On Law Day, Williams said they met with three different women all of whom spoke to them about their background and their experiences of how they arrived in the position they are in today.

"Those were pretty inspiring stories to hear," she said.

From there they met with an officer who also shared his background and how he got to where he is now. A trip to the jail was an experience for Williams.

"That was really interesting and a little intimidating. It definitely makes you want to follow the rules," she said laughing.

Law Day also included meeting with three different judges, which Williams said was her favorite part. She said a judge made it clear that he did not know what to do with his life, which was reassuring.

"Even if you were not sure of what you wanted to do now, it will all work out," Williams said of what she took away from their speech.

After going through Law Day for the second time, she walked away knowing that it is not a career path that she is interested in taking.

"It was something I did want to learn more about. The atmosphere is a lot more serious than I would like to be around. Those jobs and situations are pretty big deals. It's very serious. I personally don't think I could handle that on a day-to-day basis. I'm more into the performing arts - acting, singing and dancing," Williams said.

She recently had her college unified audition in Chicago, which is a convention where countless schools come to one location, so she could do her auditions in one spot. In four days, Williams did 24 auditions.

"Acting is definitely what I want to do. I love musicals. I love dancing in them," she said.

Schwinn said she enjoys seeing the student's engagement with judges, the Lee County Clerk's office and law enforcement at the jail.

"This program fills up each year and there is always a waiting list. The students have an opportunity to interact with these groups in a manner that they would otherwise not be able to," she said. "It touches their lives in many ways. For each student, the experience is different. Some decide that day that they want to become lawyers, a law enforcement officer, or even a judge."

 
 

 

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