Community Service Committee’s High School Speaker Series

Chair – Hon. Connie Mallafré Mélendez

On behalf of the LJA , and as chair of the LJA High School Speakers Series, I wish to thank each of the judges who volunteered to share with high school students the lessons they learned as they made the journey to the judiciary. While every judge has his or her own story to tell, imparting to young people the wisdom acquired in pursuit of an education and a career is of universal value to high schoolers. Our program, aimed at demystifying college, law school and beyond, has been an enormous success as the stories our judges tell are based on circumstances similar to those the students encounter today. While understanding that not everyone must go to college or even law school, conversations with the students leave them with tools to guide them beyond high school. The students yearn to hear about how we made the decisions we made and seek our advice to help them make their own. I am grateful to the board for their support, connections to their school contacts and for sharing the vision.

We intend to continue the program for the 2021-2022 school year, so if you are interested in participating or have a school contact you wish to share, please contact me directly and click the link below.

The participating high schools (listed alphabetically) included: Bronx High School for Law Government & Justice, Brooklyn Collaborative Studies School, Judith S. Kaye High School, Mount Vernon High School and Richmond Hill High School.

Below we have shared some photos of those virtual programs and reflections from our colleague volunteers.

Click Here for the Semester of 2022

Click Here for the Semester of 2021

Click Here for the Semester of 2020

Spring Semester 2023

Bronx School for Law, Government & Justice, Bronx NY


Julissa Gomez-McGhie, Assistant Principal & Basil Manolakos, J.D., Civil & Criminal Law Dept.

Hon. Lourdes Ventura Queens Civil Court

Reflections: “I am thankful for this organization and its High School Speaker Series.  Speaking with students at Brooklyn High School of Arts and Humanities allowed me give what was given to me – planting the seed for a possible career in the law, providing tools and the necessary knowledge, and helping our younger generation believe that they can succeed no matter what life throws their way.”

May 2023

Hon. Connie Gonzalez Queens Family Court

Reflections: “Despite the technical difficulties, we were able to have a meaningful conversation.  The questions showed real interest in the field of law. This is a valuable program that I wish was available when I was in HS. I hope the students enjoyed it as much as I did.”

April 2023

Hon. Rhonda Tomlinson New York State Court of Claims

Reflections: It was a pleasure to meet with the students at The School for Law Government and Justice.   As a child of an immigrant family in this country, I wish that I had someone to speak with me at that age about careers in and the law, including the judiciary.  These wonderful young people have their lives before them, and it is important that that they have exposure to the range of legal careers that are available.  This is an opportunity to remind them that with hard work and encouragement, they can pursue their interests, develop their talents, and fulfill their dreams.

March 2023

Hon. Yvette Rosario Associate Village Justice

I had a very rewarding and humbling experience with the program.  Seeing the students, reminded me of myself at their age – interested in the law.  Being curious about the law, was my first step in becoming a lawyer and then eventually, a judge.  I hope that their curiosity will allow them the possibility to keep exploring and see what is out there for them to achieve their dreams.

March 27, 2023

Hon. Valentine Morales New York City, Criminal Court

Reflections: This is a wonderful program which allows us the opportunity to exchange ideas with our community’s young thinkers. It reminded me that our presence on the bench can mean so very much to those who will craft our collective future.  It was a great honor and a lot of fun!

March 27, 2023