Recognized at a reception in the commissioner’s conference room at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center, Anna Terry, Rebekah Bell, Wyatt Olive, Eli Hogan, Carressa Hann and Denver Harris became part of the program after Office Manager Stephanie Shook pursued the idea.
“She contacted Excel [Christian Academy] and they were more than eager and sent over two back before Christmas,” District Attorney Rosemary Greene said. “Then she made a connection to the Bartow [County College and Career Academy], and they have a wonderful program that places students in different locations. And I think we got the best of the best.”
The department has utilized legal and college interns prior to allowing high school internships, and Greene said the level of education determines what the respective students may do.
“It is like having an extra employee in the office, just wonderful students. We’ve enjoyed getting them in to see what we do as well as what they can provide for us,” Greene said. “It has been one of the most rewarding things that I have experienced as DA.”
The contributions of the high school seniors were not lost on the staff.
“We’ve accomplished so much with them. At the beginning of the year, we had two interns from Excel — two of our guys, Denver Harris and Eli Hogan — which were instrumental in cleaning out the file room in our office, which was a monumental task. It involved a whole lot of manual labor, moving boxes from here into our new storage facility over at the old gold-domed courthouse. … In the spring we’ve had two other interns, one of which has been with our victim’s assistance unit … for her career path in social work and helping in that field. She’s been involved in victim contact and helping them,” Greene said. “… Bekah Bell has been helping us. She goes into the courtroom to watch court some, and she helps open transfer cases that come up from probate and civil courts.
“Then we have … Wyatt Olive and Carressa Hann; they’ve been with us almost all year and literally are like part of the office. They come in every afternoon after lunch, and Carressa has been working hard on closing out files and helping us open them so we are caught up in that area. And Wyatt does a little bit of everything. He runs to the clerk’s office for us and to probate court if we need it. He answers the phone, jumps right in.”
Harris, who plans to pursue a degree in psychology at Kennesaw State University, said the program offered him real-world experience.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I got to come in and meet all these people and see how the court system works from the inside,” he said. “You get to see the real world ... You see every different kind of person come in and out of here. It’s very beneficial.”
The internship also prepared Harris for his future profession.
“I get to see different people’s mindset, get to hear other ideas. … I really just get to think it over and understand like my ideas might not always be right, it might be somebody else’s,” he said.
Hann echoed Harris’s sentiment.
“It’s been hard work, but you know what? I’ve learned a lot from it,” said Hann, who plans to pursue a career in information technology. “… I had worked at the informational systems director’s office and then after that … the work-based learning teacher said she was talking to the county and they [had] a job. When she told me, I was ecstatic to go in and try it, and I love it.”
Although the school year is winding down, Greene and her office already are making plans for next year.
“We definitely hope [to continue it],” Greene said. “Excel is already talking about next year, and we are making plans through Bartow career academy as well.”