Thirteen high school students from across Oswego County were inducted last month into Oswego County Youth Court. The ceremony was held in the historic Oswego County Courthouse. Family Court Judge David Roman has presided over the Youth Court induction program for the past 15 years.
The new youth court members took part in a 20-hour training class and passed a “bar exam” in July.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Sixteen senior Youth Court members presented a mock trial at the ceremony, and were honored for their service to the community.
Sponsored by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Youth Court is a criminal diversion program for first-time youthful offenders.
“Youth Court offers an alternative to the traditional juvenile court system,” said Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. “It is a win-win program for all involved, including offenders, trained Youth Court members, law enforcement, and the entire community. Offenders are judged by their peers, and are held accountable for their actions.”
Trained Youth Court members benefit by helping their communities; influencing their peers in a positive way; developing public speaking, interviewing, and writing skills and have the opportunity to gain practical experience with real court cases. Law enforcement agencies benefit because Youth Court provides an option for youth who have committed first-time minor offenses. “The entire community profits from the community service that is performed by the offenders,” said Fenlon.
New students inducted into youth court include Rachel Chetney, Steven Coffey, Joshua Costo, Nicholas Costo, Casey Fraser, Wesley Ihlow, Tom Mather, Elizabeth Morley, Mackenzie Myers, Mara Parker, Leah Smith, Hailey Thompson, and Ashley Welch.
Seniors who were honored for their service include Tyler Atkinson, Andrea Curreri, Danielle D’Amico, Will Dawson, Brianna Downs, Danny Dunn, RJ Gallagher, Brittani Jock, Vilas Mariwalla, Chelsey Pritchard, Mike Ryan, Lindsay Scharf, Ryan Smith, Morgan Snyder, Ken Sturtz, and Katie Ware.
Family Court Judge David Roman administered the oath of office for the 15th year. He addressed the students and parents, and thanked the trained members for being positive role models. Additional guest speakers included Oswego County Attorney Richard Mitchell and Oswego County Legislature Vice Chairman John Proud, District 7, Mexico. A reception was held after the ceremony for students and their families.
For information about Youth Court, contact Brian Chetney at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, phone 349-3451, or e-mail [email protected]