Students in the Lipscomb Academy Ignite Civics and Law Program began the school year by meeting Gov. Bill Haslam during their first field experience of the year.
Ignite is a program designed to help students pursue career areas of interest while still in high school.
Twelve students in the Civics and Law program began their day by travelling to the Tennessee State Capitol where they were given a tour by staff members followed by a question and answer session with Haslam. Questions from the students ranged from how to balance family life to how to deal with controversial issues.
“Governor Haslam has such a desire to help our state, and he’s so humble and personal, you really can relate to what he’s talking about,” said Noah Adams, a junior in Ignite.
After the question and answer session the students proceeded to the legislative chamber where they were able to participate in a mock legislation. Each student was given a persona to act out and made comments for or against specific bills based on their given perspective.
Next, the students travelled to the Metropolitan Nashville Courthouse where they met with Chief Public Defender, Dawn Deaner. While in a jury room, Deaner spoke openly with the students about her profession. She explained to them that she feels her job is a calling and that most of her clients do not have anyone else to defend them.
The last stop of the day was the courtroom of Criminal Court Judge, Steve Dozier. Judge Dozier allowed the students to watch sentencing hearings and then welcomed the students into his chambers for a private session where he answered questions about law, justice and the court system.
“For me, its like little pin pricks in a paper; every little prick lets in more light,” said Mary Hearn, Director of Ignite Civics and Law, as she described the experience for the students in the program.