Scecina student meets Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor

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Tyaira Jointer (left in white jacket) attends the virutal session with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (on screen)

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

Scecina freshman Tyaira Jointer recently received a rare opportunity to attend a live virtual meeting with a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Tyaira joined six other Indianapolis students in the Sept. 23 session with Justice Sonia Sotomayor as part of the Reading and Robes program, a project by the National Judicial College. Tyaira was invited by Marion County Superior Court Judge David Dreyer, who held the local session in his courtroom in the City-County Building.

Tyaira received a signed copy of one of Justice Sotomayor’s bestselling books, “The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor” and finished reading the book over one weekend. Sotomayor is the first Latino and Puerto Rican on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“She had all the odds stacked against her, but she really made something of her life,” Tyaira said.

Tyaira said she would give the book five out of five stars.

After meeting Sotomayor, Tyaira said, “She seems really personable. That’s what I was most impressed with. She seemed like just a regular person.

“This was a great opportunity,” she added.

After the question-and-answer session with Sotomayor, the students also heard from Judge Dreyer about how he became interested in the law and what cases he has heard as a Marion County judge.

Tyaira, who will play basketball for Scecina, likes math and science classes the best at school and wants to be either a doctor or a lawyer. The law was something she was able to learn more about during the session with a Supreme Court justice and local judge.

“I would like to do criminal law. It sounds more interesting,” said Tyaira after meeting Judge Dreyer, who talked about his experiences as a judge in both criminal and civil cases.

During the session, Justice Sotomayor experienced the same problems everyone does with virtual meetings: no sound, echoing speakers, and her cell phone even started ringing.

The justice began by mentioning her fellow justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had just died. She told the youth that Justice Ginsburg was a leading proponent for rights for women.

“I hope you take time to learn more about her life,” she said.

She spoke about having juvenile diabetes as a child. Not thinking she would live long, she decided not to waste time.

“I didn’t think I had must time to live. It’s a very important way to live your life,” she said. “For me, every moment is precious. I like to do something important with it, like this (speaking with young people).”

Every day, she tries to learn something, she said, and her work makes that easy. Every day she tries to call or email a friend or reach out to someone who ill or lonely.

Justice Sotomayor says she like speaking with young people because they have hope.

“Please don’t lose that hope,” she said. “You’re my hope for the future.”

Judge Dreyer also encouraged the students to consider a legal profession.

“We need good people,” he said.

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