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A Day at the Administrative Office of the Courts

When people think of the courts they usually think of judges and lawyers, but the operation of our state’s judicial system requires the skills and expertise of a much wider range of professionals. On March 5, students from Washington and Franklin Pierce High Schools in Franklin Pierce School District traveled to Olympia where they had the opportunity to meet AOC employees who provide administrative, technological, financial, program, and research services to the state’s judicial branch. AOC set up a networking challenge for the students that had them speaking one-on-one to AOC employees with diverse educational (technical, 2, 4 and graduate degrees) and employment experiences.  The activity had students energized, talking, and asking questions. For most students on the tour, speaking to the employees was the highlight of the day. Other impactful moments on the tour included observing the Day of Empathy at the state legislative building and lunch with State Supreme Court Justices Yu and Gonzalez. At the Day of Empathy students observed individuals impacted by the criminal justice system and state lawmakers speak about the impact of our criminal justice system and legislation seeking to address system inequities. During lunch at the Temple of Justice (where the State Supreme Court is housed), Justices Yu and Gonzalez shared their own journey to the highest bench in the state and emphasized the need for and importance of diversity in the judicial branch. Feedback from students, educators, and AOC staff about the career exploration experience was very positive. It was a phenomenal way to wrap the worksite tour pilot.

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