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West Oso High School students take sneak peek at local government

Inna Klein 214 district Court
Posted at 7:42 AM, Jun 13, 2024

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — School is out for the summer, but some dedicated students from West Oso High School are taking a week out of their summer break to invest in their future.

For the third year, the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers partnered up with county court officials and West Oso ISD for its 2024 summer Youth Government Academy Program.

The program gives the high school students an idea of how local government and the judicial system function. It also allows them to network and connect with possible mentors.

"I've now switched career paths,” Zakyra Stafford, an upcoming senior said. Although she has always been interested in criminal justice, she added that being a part of this program really helped clear any doubt that she had.

And with the help of this program she has confirmed that she is ready to start her career.

“Getting that visual experience really changed everything. It made me want to fight for rights and laws," Stafford said," "And it makes you just want to fight for something essentially and ask questions like why and how can we change it, and the only way to do that is to go and make the difference yourself.

The academy teaches leadership skills and the aspects of judicial courts law enforcement. Judge Inna Klein said programs like this are critical to have in our community

“I think learning leadership skills and learning how to move forward because staying in one spot is not an option, and so my goal is for every one of those kids that goes through this program to learn that they can do it, they can reach for the stars and not only reach the stars but also touch them,” Klein said.

Junior Isaac Hernandez said he appreciates the opportunity to experience the youth government academy program.

“The amount of things that these people do as a community commissioner or a judge. They do so many different things, and it’s just very impressive how they’re able to work together to make up this government," Hernandez said.

Smantha Garibay with West Oso ISD said an opportunity like this one is impactful for the lives of the students.

The students who are participating this year all applied to the program and had to write an essay in order to get chosen. The students said they are all enjoying their time learning and are grateful for the opportunity.

The program is all week long, but on Monday, they will be presenting a presentation to parents and administrators.

Judge Klein said they hope to be able to offer this program to more districts in the area next summer.

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