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New academy named after chief justice

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Students in Vanderburgh County soon will be able to attend an academy named after the state's chief justice; the academy will focus on the law and social justice.

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation and the EVSC Foundation announced the creation of the Randall T. Shepard Academy for Law and Social Justice, which will open in fall 2010 to juniors. The two-year program will integrate social studies and English curriculums for juniors and seniors; topics were prepared by the Harrison High School social studies and English departments. The chief justice, a graduate of Harrison, will provide assistance in the planning and implementation of the program.

Juniors will engage in the Socratic method; seniors will concentrate on government, the creation of law, and the process of justice. They'll also be able to participate in various educational and growth opportunities such as the law ambassador program in Washington, D.C.

Students will attend the academy for half of the day and their home school the other half of the day. The courses offered at the academy will meet the graduation requirements for English and social studies and students will earn college credit initially at University of Southern Indiana.

"This academy has the capacity to train a new generation of Americans that will ... be better public citizens, regardless of whether they turn out to be a lawyer, or police officer, or go into another profession," Chief Justice Shepard said today at a news conference.

Depending on the interest, the program may be opened to students outside of Vanderburgh County. Marsha Jackson, EVSC chief communication officer, said the school corporation is still nailing down where the academy will be located.

Chief Justice Shepard is an Evansville native who served as a judge on Vanderburgh Superior Court from 1980 until he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1985.

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