Alaska Supreme Court Justice Walter Carpeneti honored Thunder Mountain High School junior Hannah Everett in the Chambers of the Alaska Supreme Court on Thursday morning for her entry in a statewide competition sponsored by the Alaska Court System and the Alaska Bar Association.
Students were invited to create works of art on the theme “Fairness, Diversity & Equality: Our Justice System Depends on Them – What Do They Mean to You?” Everett placed third for a black and white photo and accompanying essay and received a $200 check.
“The picture doesn’t really pop out what justice, equality, diversity and fairness are,” Everett said. “It is more of a subtle way of the representation of it.”
Everett is a member of the Juneau Youth Court and a photography buff. Her photo was of a man and boy (her father and brother), holding hands in winter, and looking towards the State Capitol building.
She said the picture was black and white to describe fairness, that when things are fair they are often described as without having a gray area, that a picture is not fair if there are colors bursting from every different spectrum in it. Fairness was like yin and yang and balanced, and colors were more diversified.
“Everything is fair when it is black and white,” Everett said. “And that was another struggle I had. If I was making this black and white, then how would I describe diversity?”
Everett’s photo uses the figures of her father and brother as that diverse element, an older man and a younger.
“Diversity, to me, doesn’t have to be a diversity of culture and faces,” Everett wrote in her essay. “Diversity can be anything from styles of clothing to the decade of your generation, as shown in the picture.”
Equality was represented by both subjects standing hand-in-hand before the State Capitol.
“Our government and justice system (represented by the Capitol Building) utilizes equality because it stands for young and old, tall and small,” Everett wrote. “Both groups can stand before it during the rough times (hence the showing of the snow storm) and look up to the sky with hope and pride knowing it is always there for them. Equality means unity to me.”
Everett said when you are equal to someone you could take his or her hand without fear and smile without weakness.
“These things are important,” Carpeneti said. “Our outreach is important in that it gives people a sense of what we are trying to do and feel like they are a part of the institution. I am thrilled for Hannah.”
Carpeneti suggested students go to the website iCivics.org, a site former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has worked to establish. The Internet game-based program teaches the basics of the American government and civics.
Everett’s placing art and essay can be viewed at www.courts.alaska.gov/outreach.htm.
“I have always had a thing for photography,” Everett said. “And this was a chance for me to appeal to the community through my involvement in the Juneau Youth Court, through the justice system which is something I am also interested in, and through photography.”
Everett hopes to become a foreign services officer through the U.S. Justice Department. She plans to major in foreign studies, cultures, and policies and has earned full scholarships to both the University of Alaska Southeast and the University of Washington.
Everett will be traveling with the People To People Student Ambassador Program this summer, a program established by Dwight Eisenhower and currently run by his granddaughter. The group of 16 Alaska students will meet other youth in Seattle and travel to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, England, and Belgium. Six countries in 21 days will allow Everett many new diplomatic opportunities.
Everett also worked as a legislative aide this session.
“Public diplomacy is my thing,” Everett said. “And the legal system is a part of that.”
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.