Their Day in Court: Evangeline Parish 4-H’ers Participate in Citizenship Day

Esther Boe, Deville, Kimberly

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Assistant District Attorney Betsy Jackson, right, addresses a group of 4-H members. Students include, first row from left, Callie Basco, Analise Melancon, Ella Godwin and Kristina Nevils; second row, Aubrey Brasseaux, Jordan Lafleur, Rhett Guillory, Jonathan Lavergne, A.J. Rose, Lorali Thibodeaux and Rylie Guillory; and third row, Chloe Hayes.

Every day in 4-H, students are encouraged to live out the 4-H pledge, which promotes learning about a global society by pledging their head, heart, hands and health for the betterment of their club, their community, their country and their world.

Through the 4-H Citizenship Project, youth learn by contributing to the world around them and being in service to others. They also learn how to solve problems in their community and how to take action in a positive way.

Each year, Evangeline Parish 4-H hosts Citizenship Day – a workshop targeted toward sixth through eighth graders who are learning about civics and have an interest in governmental affairs and careers. The event includes a tour of the local courthouse where youth can visit governmental entities that contribute to the overall well-being and management of the parish including the tax assessor’s office, sheriff’s office, jail, dispatch, clerk of court, registrar of voters, district attorney’s office, the judge’s chamber and the courtroom.

The workshop is usually held in May in conjunction with revocation court – a day where parolees who have not followed the parameters of their parole have an opportunity to appear in court and explain why. The judge, who volunteers his time for Citizenship Day, likes the 4-H members to see the process as he decides if parole should be revoked or if the parolee will get one more chance to do the right thing. It is meaningful to the youth to hear and helps them to develop a respect for the law while giving them a front row seat to consequences for actions.

Through this workshop, youth witness court proceedings that help them understand the legal system, the basic principles of justice and how conflicts are resolved in society.

4-H agents in Evangeline Parish have built relationships with governmental agencies and collaborated with parish employees to share the roles and responsibilities of their jobs. They not only focus on the importance of their office, but also on career awareness as it relates to the particular educational track and path that a young person might pursue to achieve a career in these fields. As youth tour the courthouse, career readiness and exploration in law enforcement or related fields are discussed. Early exposure to the legal system can help them explore their interests and consider future career paths.

Civic education is essential for fostering responsible and informed citizens. By participating in the Citizenship Day, youth are encouraged to become informed citizens who are better equipped to make responsible decisions while voting, participating in community events and issues, and advocating for change in the legal system. Educating children about citizenship and the laws that govern our society helps prepare them to be active and resourceful citizens in the future.

Through programs such as the Evangeline Parish Citizenship Day, 4-H teaches children about leadership and helps lay the foundation for understanding how society functions and how individuals can contribute to the maintenance of justice, order and equality within their communities.

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Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel, center, looks at records with 4-H members, from left, Ella Godwin, Analise Melancon, A.J. Rose, Kristina Nevils and Callie Basco. Photos by Kimberly Deville

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4-H members attending Citizenship Day in Evangeline Parish include, top to bottom, A.J. Rose, Callie Basco, Jonathan Lavergne, Rhett Guillory, Kristina Nevils, Lorali Thibodeaux, Lillian Hayes, Heidi Duplechin, Rylie Guillory, Chloe Hayes, Dredyn Batise, Isabella Longino, Jordan Lafleur, Aubrey Brasseaux, Victoria Sonnier, Noah Deculus, Lillian Bordelon, Ella Godwin and Analise Melancon.

3/5/2024 9:28:44 PM
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