Civic Learning Award at Camarillo High School: Impressions of a Presiding Justice

June 7, 2018

By Hon. Arthur Gilbert, Presiding Justice of Division Six, Second District Court of Appeal

Justice GilbertRecently I presented the Civic Learning Award to Camarillo High School, my second time to participate in the special program established by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. I have been told that a visit from a judge is part of the prize for the school. But from my perspective, I received a prize by having the honor to visit Camarillo High School, to meet the students, and to see what they have achieved.

It happened on a day when I was feeling cynical about the state of affairs in the world and our society. Keeping abreast of the news is enlightening, but can also be dispiriting. That all changed when I left Camarillo High School a few hours later. I was transformed into a resolute optimist.

I met numerous students, all of whom spoke with unbridled enthusiasm about the many projects they fashioned to benefit and enhance the community. The students designed programs to protect the environment, help the homeless and less fortunate, support the arts, and enhance communication between the public and law enforcement, to mention a few.

These projects were undertaken with careful in-depth study, which, in turn, led to solutions to put into practical use. For example, students studied drought-resistant plants suitable for eventual cultivation in a plot of ground at the school. Other students formed a daycare center at the school for young children of working mothers. The students designed educational and recreational activities for the preschoolers. This spurs the children’s interest in education and learning. It also gives the students who designed the program experience in related professions they may wish to pursue.

The enthusiasm, insight and determination the students brought to their projects remind us that we can always make our communities and the society at large a better place. And there is great joy in doing so.

Congratulations to Camarillo High School and the other deserving schools that earned a 2018 Civic Learning Award.

For more photos of Civic Learning Award visits by judicial officers, click here