Student internships at the Nashville Public Defender’s office

Escarlet E. is an academy ambassador for McGavock High School‘s Academy of Health Science and Law. Last spring, she had a student internship at the Nashville Public Defender‘s office. She recently interviewed the three McGavock students who are currently interning at the Public Defender’s office: Kevin S., Lesley S., and Wensly D. All of these students are benefiting from the real-world learning experiences made possible by their academy’s community partnerships.

Throughout high school, many students are given opportunities to excel.  Schools all through the state offer different types of hands-on learning. At McGavock High school, in addition to our rigorous courses, we have students from several academies that complete internships. Students are first nominated by their CTE teachers and are later required to pass several hurdles in order to participate in these student internships.  These hurdles consist of applications, interviews, and training. I had the opportunity to have an internship at the Nashville Public Defenders Office last summer. It truly was one of the most amazing experiences of my high school career and allowed me to glimpse what my future can look like. Unfortunately, my turn is over, but now we have other students in my Criminal Justice course who are getting their turn. Kevin S., Lesley S., and Wensly D. are all interning this spring at the Nashville Public Defenders office.

I was able to interview each of the students and listen to their experiences. Kevin said, “This is a lot of fun, and I really am learning how to do intake.”  Lesley followed that up with, “I have so much fun talking to all of the attorneys; I really am learning a lot and I am certainly going to miss this experience.” Both of these students have their internships on the same day of the week, and aside from learning from the internship, they also learn from each other. When one of them has a question, the other is there to help out. Every time Wensly speaks of his internship he always shows great enthusiasm and says that everyone in the office is extremely nice to the interns.

At the Public Defender’s office, the students are trained to talk to defendants by phone or in person. The students answer questions about court dates, out dates, and even bond fees. In order to be an intern, they received training on how to properly talk to clients and how to access necessary computer information. Sometimes when the interns finish their assignments, attorneys take them to court. There they are able to actually get a glimpse of what a career as a public defender can look like.

McGavock High School is a building full of opportunity, and these internships are just the beginning for these students. Their hard work paid off. They have excelled in every single one of the tasks given to them, and our academy is extremely proud of their accomplishments.

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