Kenai Peninsula Youth Court welcomed four new attorneys and five judges to the West Homer/Fireweed School Youth Court program Monday, Jan. 22. District Court Judge Margaret Murphy adminstered the oath of office to the new attorneys, Hadley Glidden, Paige Haines, Jasmine Lurus and Rainey Sundheim. Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet administered the oath of office to the new judges, Gillian Bremicker, Ben Dickson, Natalya Gallentine, Hazel Pearson and Nathaniel Theisen.
All of the students participated in seven weeks of training after school and passed their Bar Exams. On the same day, the students learned firsthand about the legislative process with a visit to the Homer Legislative Information Office. At the LIO, Amber Corey “appointed” them members of a Legislative Committee and they heard testimony about SB 15, a bill about minors possessing vaping equipment. The committee of students then amended and debated the bill before voting on their recommendation to the full Senate.
The next stop for the students was a tour of the Homer Courthouse, hosted by Jessie Cashman, who showed them the courtrooms and jury rooms and shared her perspective on working for the Court System. Judges Murphy and Huguelet spoke to the students about their paths to the bench, and how their work compares to their expectations when they started down their paths. Teacher Rebecca Paul awarded the students their Certificates of Completion. Youth Court Director Ginny Espenshade announced Golden Gavel Awards for Hadley Glidden and Hazel Pearson for the highest scores on the Bar Exam, and also recognized Ben Dickson and Gillian Bremicker for their excellent scores. The day culminated in the swearing in ceremony in which Judge Murphy administered the attorneys’ oath and Judge Huguelet presided over the judges’ oath. Family members “robed” their new judges. Espenshade explained that now they are on call for school offense referrals from the school, and they also have a head start on becoming members of the community Youth Court which hears matters referred by District Court and the Division of Juvenile Justice.