Bogalusa High School Hosts Distinguished Alumni Judges

Published 11:58 am Monday, September 18, 2023

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On Thursday, September 14th, Bogalusa High School had the privilege of hosting five distinguished Louisiana Judges, all proud alumni of the school. The event, aimed at students from grades 9-12, provided a unique opportunity to gain insights into the legal profession and the paths to success these esteemed judges took.

The panel of judges comprised Justice William J. Crain from the Louisiana Supreme Court, Judge Allison Hopkins Penzato from the Louisiana Court of Appeals, First Circuit, Judge Raymond S. Childress from the Louisiana 22nd Judicial District Court, Judge Dawn Amacker from the Louisiana 22nd Judicial District Court, and Judge David Merlin Duke from the City Court of Bogalusa.

Judge David Merlin Duke commenced the event by underlining the potential for greatness that Bogalusa High School instills in its students. He emphasized that all the judges had once sat in the seats the students occupied, showcasing that significant accomplishments are achievable from Bogalusa.

“We’re all graduates of this school. We all have sat where you are sitting right now,” stated Judge Duke. “This is my attempt to show you that no matter what you choose to do, it may not be practicing law, and it may not be in the judiciary. But from Bogalusa, you can do great things.”

Judge Duke also spoke about the unique nature of Bogalusa, highlighting its rare achievement of having a graduate at every level of the state judiciary despite being a smaller city and school.

Following Judge Duke’s inspiring opening, Judge Dawn Amacker addressed the students, focusing on the importance of one’s circle of influence. She stressed the positive impact that surrounding oneself with motivated individuals can have on future success.

“If you’re hanging with somebody good here today, and they do the right thing, and they’re paying attention, and they’re getting an education or doing what they should, and they’re paying attention, you’re probably going to do okay in your life if you’re kind of with the group that’s not really going anywhere and you’re probably not going to go anywhere either,” mentioned Judge Amacker.

Judge Raymond S. Childress encouraged the students to pursue their dreams, underscoring the necessity of setting clear objectives and working diligently towards them. He emphasized the importance of perseverance and hard work in achieving one’s aspirations.

“Whatever your dream is, it will take work to get there. It will take effort to get there because anything worth having is worth working for. So this is where you start that. Study hard, and make your grades. If you move on to college, move on, enjoy it, keep your dream alive because you can accomplish that,” Judge Childress advised the students.

Judge Allison Hopkins Penzato conveyed her appreciation for the Bogalusa community and their continuous support. She encouraged the students to lean on their peers and the community, wishing them success in all their future endeavors.

“I wish you all the most success in whatever you seek to do and encourage you to let this community wrap its arms around each of you,” said Judge Penzato.

Finally, Justice William J. Crain addressed the students, emphasizing the importance of finding and pursuing one’s passion. He encouraged the students to fearlessly embrace life’s opportunities and adopt a positive mindset in achieving their goals.

“There is nothing that you can’t accomplish. You’ve and are getting the tools that you need to succeed. We all have the same tools here at Bogalusa High School. Pursue your passion,” concluded Judge Crain.

The session culminated with the judges addressing specific questions from the students, covering various topics from overcoming life’s obstacles to navigating educational challenges. The consistent message from all the judges was that their education and opportunities at Bogalusa High School significantly shaped their successful careers.