Blasutti, a law teacher at Lockerby Composite School, has received the Hux-Kiteley Exemplary Justice Educators’ Award. Andrea Sobko of the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN/ROEJ) presented the award in Sudbury on Friday, Oct. 11.
Established in 2002 by the chief justices of the three Ontario Courts, OJEN/ROEJ is a non-profit organization that promotes public understanding, education and dialogue to support a responsive and inclusive justice system.
OJEN/ROEJ’s justice education programs are delivered provincewide through a network of hundreds of justice and education sector volunteers. It also produces teaching resources to secondary school teachers of law and civics that are available in both English and French free of charge on its website.
The award pays tribute to Blasutti’s leadership role in supporting the Sudbury Mock Trial Competition, which was launched 13 years ago. Justice Patricia C. Hennessy and Blasutti worked together to pilot the very first competition with Lockerby Composite School. The award also recognizes her contribution to teaching excellence and her collaboration with other teachers.
“Students in Rainbow Schools have been participating in the Mock Trial Competition because of dedicated teachers who have worked in partnership with the local legal community to bring the classroom into the courtroom,” said Rainbow District School Board Chair Doreen Dewar.
“We thank the legal community for being exceptional role models of professionalism, community service and student success. We commend OJEN for recognizing the importance of experiential learning. We are very proud of Shari Blasutti for her outstanding achievement. She has been involved since the very beginning.”
Hennessy and local lawyer Trevor Kestle nominated Blasutti.
“They have commended you on your innovative approach to justice education and your commitment to providing your students with rewarding experiential learning opportunities,” said OJEN Executive Director Sarah McCoubrey in announcing the 2013 award recipient. “They have also mentioned your collaborative approach to teaching and your generosity in sharing your teaching materials with teachers throughout the city.”
The Mock Trial Competition has become a much-anticipated annual event, said a news release.
“Students welcome the opportunity to dress and speak like lawyers in a trial before the Superior Court,” said Blasutti. “Many students have been inspired to pursue studies in the legal field after secondary school.
“It has been a privilege for me to work with members of the local legal community to bring this hands-on learning experience to our students, year after year.”
For more information about OJEN /ROEJ, visit, www.ojen.ca or www.roej.ca.