Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Tuesday Afternoon

Name: Ava Grossman
From: Miami, FL
Grade: 12
School: Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High
Votes: 15

During my sophomore year my law teacher started an internship with a local
courthouse judge, and if we were interested, all we had to do was
send in a resume. Before I knew it I was waiting for an interview.

At first I purely listened in on the judge’s cases. But with time I
was able to actually make a difference in the court system. I was
given the responsibility of “FWOPs.” It was my job to look over
the history of cases that have been inactive. If nothing had been
done for 6 months, it was my duty to send out letters for both
parties to come in and either wipe the case or take action. My judge
had thousands of cases sitting in cardboard boxes. With 10 hours a
week that turned into about 2 years of work, I had managed to get
2000 cases reviewed and my judge 4 months ahead of schedule. Although
the biggest challenge was overcoming my anxiety of making a mistake,
because one slight mishap whether it was skipping a document or
improper date could cause a slippery slope of events to follow, it
went away when that Tuesday came around.

One Tuesday of every month, the courthouse would be flooded with people
waiting for their case to be called upon all because of the work I
had done. I was thoroughly satisfied that I could see a face and
story behind those piles and piles of paperwork. Not only did my work
help the judge but thousands of people of Miami Dade trying to
exercise their rights. My favorite reactions were from the
defendants, your typical citizens, a little confused as to what was
going on. When the judge would inform them that they had the ability
to throw away the case without the other party’s consent, their
faces would immediately light up. You could tell they had a different
view of the court system upon leaving.

Although I do not want to pursue a career in law, forward looking, I see
myself with more confidence. From interning at the courthouse, I
gained a different perspective of the judicial circuit. I learned
that you don’t need to be afraid of lawyers and judges. There is a
certain fright of the judicial system, and this behind the scenes
experience definitely made me more relaxed and comfortable with the
law. I do believe this hate and fear of the law and its enforcers is
what we are made to believe. But with experience like mine, that fear
is completely eradicated. Hence, why I always try to inform people of
my experience because that is one thing from my volunteer activities
that could most definitely change some others.

Because this internship is through my school, it is still continued today! So
if I were to walk in to the courthouse years from now, I’m sure I
would find an intern surrounded in mounds of paper making the same
difference I did.

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