PA Superior Court Judge and Guest Alumnae and Community Members Speak to the Upper School about Civic Engagement during Inaugural Civics Week
“Civic engagement has always been part of my career,” said Judge Megan McCarthy King P’25. “I gravitated toward helping people who needed someone to advocate and fight for them. As a former prosecutor, I oversaw cases relating to child abuse, elder abuse, and abuse of adults who had physical or mental limitations – in other words, the most vulnerable population.” In 2019, Judge King was asked to run for judge of Superior Court of Pennsylvania (PA judges are elected officials, while in other states, judges are appointed). “I thought being a judge could be a way to make a difference on a wider scale, not only in Chester County, but also statewide. I ran and in November 2019, I won the election and began my career as a Superior Court Judge. There are fifteen PA Superior Court judges – currently, ten of us are women.”
Judge King spoke to the role of the judiciary: “Judges should resolve to do our best to maintain the public’s trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under law. Judges need to be neutral and impartial for the courts to fulfill their role. They must make decisions fairly, based on only facts and the law, without giving favor to either side.” Acknowledging that our country is divided over many issues and this manifests itself in our community, Judge King shared her thoughts about what, specifically, students can do to contribute to a civil community:
“You may ask, what can the students of Agnes Irwin do to improve our community and make a difference? It starts with how you treat people right here at Agnes Irwin." - Judge Megan McCarthy King P'25
"You have a lot on your plate as high school students in 2022. High school can be a challenging time – the combination of academic and social pressure today is, in my opinion, harder than it was when I was your age. So start right here – help make the school environment the best it can be by treating each other and the faculty in the best way you can. By consistently treating people in this school with respect and kindness, you are making your community, your class, your high school better. If you do that, you are truly promoting civics. You will be rewarded with true friendships, confidence in your ability to lead, and memories to carry with you the rest of your lives. Collectively, these things will help you make a real difference in this world.”
Thank you to Judge King and all of our wonderful, engaging alumnae and guest speakers who dedicated their time to present about civic engagement during our first-ever Upper School History and Social Sciences department Civics Week!
Visiting Alumnae Presenters:
Rebecca Linder Blachly '99
"Influencing public policy: Think tanks, government service, and advocacy"
Priyanka Dinakar '15
"Improving community outside the confines of government: Creating spaces for Indian arts"
Allison Hough '01
"Philanthropy in animal welfare"
Blythe Tarbox '09
"From AIS classrooms to fundraising for nonprofits and universities"
Tracy Viola '95
"Banning plastic bags and more: Making change happen one step at a time"
Visiting Community Presenters:
"Ensuring women and girls in Chester County have the resources they need: The Fund's Blueprint Report"
"Civic Engagement in Radnor presented by a local Ward Leader"
Natalie Larrison: Syrian Emergency Task Force with Mr. Sean McCormick (AIS History)
"The Syrian Emergency Task Force about the Syrian Refugee Crisis and what steps regular people can take to help"
"Becoming a Federal Election Commissioner: One woman's path from lawyer to overseeing how campaigns are run in the United States"
Student and Faculty Presenters:
Ms. Julie Diana and Mr. João Gomes
"The Game Theory of Voting Systems"
Mr. Brett Flehinger
"Civic Engagement Without Politics: Volunteering and Community Service"
Leah Greene '24 and Margaux Reilly '24
"Creating your own government"
Mrs. Sarah Leonard
"The history of political cartoons"
Ms. Katherine Nickols
"Mobilizing the youth: How the student non-violent coordinating committee protested discrimination in the 1960s"
Mr. Colbert Root
"Civic Education: How we recreate who we are"
Ms. Teri Saulin
"Making art and exploring artists who promote civic engagement through ceramics, graffiti, zines & posters"