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YUHSD students motivated by AZ Supreme Court visit to SLHS

Miguel Nunez talks on mic. Photo by Andrea Chavez, SLHS The line of students waiting to ask the seven Arizona Supreme Court Justices a question stretched to halfway down the center aisle of San Luis High School’s performing arts center.

The question and answer session was the final part of the Supreme Court’s community initiative known as “Oral Arguments on the Road,” which brings court arguments to areas across the state, and students from San Luis, Vista, and Cibola high schools did not want to miss their chance to get in a word or two.

“They don’t typically line up with questions prepared,” Chief Justice Robert Brutinel said. “That was pretty impressive. As a matter of fact, we’ve learned a little about the school and we understand that several of [the students] are officers in national organizations, involved state-wide in organizations, and that is very impressive. The graduation rates are very impressive and the number of kids who go to college is very impressive. But it’s really about how engaged they are. They asked good questions, everyone was well behaved. That doesn’t happen every place.”

Nearly 20 students inquired about the judges’ toughest cases, what got them into law and public service, how they deal with stress, and much more. For many of the nearly 300 students in attendance, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For others, it was inspiration to pursue a career in the criminal justice and law profession.

“The justices’ main point was to be open to the idea of new ideas,” San Luis senior Miguel Nunez said. “I was always focused on going into a medical career, so I never really explored other career fields. But just having them here today at my school, and seeing them here in person, really impacted me personally. It really inspired me to do more research about the career I want to pursue, so I can really find what I’m good at and meant to do.”

Cibola senior Anthony Molina, who is a member of mock trial and aspires to be a public defender, traveled to the event with his class. “The only reason that I am different from my peers or the people I go to school with is that just one day I decided to go to an afterschool activity versus someone who didn’t or thought they had something else better to do,” he said. “I think that little thing that I did is so significant and I didn’t really notice it until this year.”

San Luis senior Melissa Moreno, who intends to study law in college next year, said, “I think it’s great to have this opportunity to actually perceive exactly what lawyers do and what judges do. So, that we are not misguided as students and have this perspective.”

Several months of logistical planning with San Luis administrators and Auditorium Manager Tim Ames for the Supreme Court visit culminated Thursday with two oral arguments, the question and answer session, and a luncheon hosted by San Luis Future Farmers of America students that included two main course dishes, multiple salads, and an ice cream sundae bar. During lunch, the school’s mariachi ensemble performed for guests.

“I want to say, ‘I love San Luis High School,’” said Justice Andrew Gould, who is a Yuma native. “I’ve come down here and spoken in the classrooms before and done things down here, and I’m very proud of the way San Luis presented itself today. I told my colleagues what a great high school it was, what great students there and the school exceeded my expectations.”

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org