Robert W. Calvert Inn of Court Mentoring a Student Program
The Robert W. Calvert Inn of Court in Austin, Texas continues its commitment to the Mentoring A Student (MAS) program at Travis High School. Seventy-seven percent of Travis High School students are from low income families, and ninety-six percent are minorities. Founded by Judge Orlinda Naranjo, MAS engages Inn members with students in the school's Criminal Justice class. MAS participants are interested in a wide variety of careers in the justice system from law enforcement to becoming attorneys and judges. Inn members meet monthly with the class. This year the class discussed voting rights, bias, immigration, and adulting skills - which at least one student was able to use at home. She wrote, "Thank you for all the time you have spent with us, and I want to thank you for that little blue book. I have used it even to teach my mom stuff she also didn't know."
The year culminated in a dating violence mock trial held at the Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center. Travis County Justice of the Peace, Raul Gonzales presided with middle school students serving as jurors. With attorney coaches, student lawyers presented their cases, examined witnesses, made objections, and handled evidence. A student wrote, "Thank y'all for allowing me into your court room and taking the time to share your knowledge with me. I have not been able to be around many lawyers. So y'all's presence meant more to me than y'all know. You guys have inspired me to continue my path in law."
The MAS program celebrated its sixth year in 2019. Each year Inn members have funded scholarships to seniors in the MAS class. This year, the Inn raised a record $3,000 which funded three $1,000 scholarships to students. Each recipient will be the first person in her family to attend college.