‘Judge Faith’ has message for local youth

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2018

As a TV judge, Faith Jenkins issues a number of rulings from the bench each week on her syndicated program, “Judge Faith.”

Tuesday afternoon, she delivered an opinion to Warren County summer youth workers during a program in the courtroom at the Warren County Courthouse.

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“Right now, you have an opportunity that a lot of young people in your area probably don’t have, and that’s an advantage for you — if you decide to take it and take the opportunity to learn all you can,” she said.

She told the students to make the most of their opportunity by creating a positive image with others.

“You establish your reputation from day one, and you always want people to look back and say, ‘Oh yeah, I remember him; he was a hard worker, he had a good attitude.’ So from day one, when you start to stand out in that way, and do your work it establishes your reputation — your work ethic, your attitude, showing up on time. Being courteous.

“Every opportunity that I had, something better came along as a result of me doing well right out there at a job.”

She said after the program she takes time to talk to students each month, “Telling them about my journey, my story, my job as a prosecutor, because I want them to know that this is also a career option for them, working for the government.”

A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, Jenkins graduated first in her class from Southern University School of Law and worked as an assistant district attorney in New York, which she called “the best job of my life.”

While she was at Louisiana Tech, she won the title of Miss Louisiana and was first runner-up to Miss America in 2000. She is in Vicksburg to serve as a judge for the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

Jenkins said she was never involved in pageants before she was in college.

At Louisiana Tech, Jenkins worked as a floor monitor in a dormitory and had applied for a hall director’s position. When she didn’t get the position, she said, she wondered how she was going to find the money to cover her next year.

“The next week, I was walking in the student union and I saw a sign about the Miss Louisiana Tech beauty pageant, and at the bottom it said the winner would get a full year of tuition, room and board and fees. I thought ‘O.K., this is something that I should look into doing.’”

She won the pageant and won the Miss Louisiana Pageant, adding the scholarships she won from Miss Louisiana and Miss America helped her complete college and paid for law school.

“That journey for me, from Louisiana Tech to Miss America, would never have happened had I gotten that job that I wanted. Because I didn’t get that job, I was forced to look elsewhere and that’s when I competed for Miss Louisiana Tech and it changed my life.”

The lesson, she said, is doors for other opportunities will open for students if they work hard and look for them.

And while they do not have to decide on a career right now, she said, she urged the students to find their passion. “That’s your job right now, find your passion,” she told them.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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