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Las Cruces Academy was graced by the visit of three justices of the New Mexico Supreme Court Sept. 16, as Justices C. Shannon Bacon, Julie Vargas and Briana Zamora visited the school.
The justices fielded questions from 24 students in grades 3 to 8 as the justices, students and teachers assembled in open air in the school courtyard.
Students asked how one becomes a lawyer, a judge and a justice; what were the hardest cases to decide; who represents a person who dies; how do justices interpret laws passed by the legislature that have some ambiguity; do they associate with the governor (circumspectly, to retain the independence of the branches of government); will there be a vaccination mandate; why they chose to serve in New Mexico over other opportunities (they’re all native-born New Mexicans pleased to help our fellow citizens); how many supreme courts there are, and do they ever meet together to learn how each one operates; how do cases reach the Supreme Court; when in their lives did they decide they wanted to work in law; how opportunities in law arose for women and other groups; and many more queries.
The justices and students showed mutual admiration.
The academy has to thank parent Mollie McGraw for creating this occasion.
The Las Cruces Academy has 46 students in grades early kindergarten to 8th grade. The academy is a nonprofit private school now in its 13th year of offering classes with a comprehensive curriculum in languages (English, Spanish, Chinese), science, math, social studies, art, music, computer programming, world culture, physical education and specialty courses, as well as after-school clubs in engineering, theater and math.
Vince Gutschick and his wife founded Las Cruces Academy in 2007. He is a teacher at the school and also serves on its board of trustees. Gutschick has a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and a
Ph. D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He hosts “Science Digest” at 8:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. each Tuesday on KRWG-FM Radio, 90.7.