February 1, 2016 — On Jan. 25, Saint Ignatius School in the Bronx, New York, hosted a visit from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The focus of Justice Sotomayor’s visit was to meet and speak with the students. Following a brief tour given by eighth-grader Adolpho and seventh-grader Cristal, Justice Sotomayor visited several classes and met with teachers and administrative staff. All of the students then gathered in the library for an afternoon assembly with the associate justice. She captivated her audience with her life story, gave a short civics lesson on the role of the courts, and described her job at the Supreme Court. Justice Sotomayor then chatted with students during a 30-minute Q&A session, pausing frequently to pose with them for photos.
Justice Sotomayor spoke about her life as a young girl growing up in the Bronx, including her first home on Tiffany Street, a few blocks from Saint Ignatius School. Justice Sotomayor’s warmth was evident as she spoke to the students about shared experiences and stressed that “no matter how many other experiences that you have in life … you never forget where you grew up, because this is the foundation of the rest of your life.” She also shared a little bit about her inspirations as a young girl, her favorite books over the course of her life, and how she felt the day President Obama introduced her to the press as his nominee to the Supreme Court, which she likened to an out-of-body experience.
As the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic justice, its third female justice, and its twelfth Catholic justice, Justice Sotomayor had much to discuss with the students. She advised them to dream big and work very hard but to not be afraid of making mistakes; to follow their passions and find a field of work that they love; and to not hesitate to speak up — especially for what they believe is right.
“I wasn’t like this when I was your age. These are things you learn. And these are things you get better at with practice. And you will do it, if you want to. That should be an important part, wanting to. Wanting to have a life that will be meaningful for you.”
Saint Ignatius School students, faculty and administration enjoyed her visit, as evidenced by the many questions asked and heartfelt applause at the end. Below is an excerpt of how one student expressed his feelings about the visit:
“Justice Sotomayor’s visit was inspirational … Hearing her say to do what makes you happy made me want to continue working hard, so I can be as successful as her. In addition, her visit made me think I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it.” -Luis, grade 7
Saint Ignatius School empowers students in the South Bronx to become their best selves by creating a safe and nurturing community that fosters intellectual, spiritual and social growth. The school is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by providing a quality Jesuit education both in and beyond the classroom to children of deserving but underserved families in the community. Click here to learn more about Saint Ignatius School and their mission.