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People Magazine’s National Hero speaks at Van-Far

Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 8:38 am

Judge Jimmie Edwards speaks during the Van-Far A+ Career Fair.

Many Van-Far A+ Career Fair organizers were surprised to learn Judge Jimmie Edwards was coming to speak during last Friday’s event.
After all, Judge Edwards was recently named People Magazine’s Editor’s Choice National Hero for his work with the Innovative Concept Academy in St. Louis School and will be meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in March. He also says he receives 25 requests per week to speak and he usually doesn’t make presentations at other school districts.
Judge Jimmie Edwards was invited to the event by law clerk Jolene Dixon and he said the impression left by Van-Far’s students will be something he brings up in his March meeting with the President of the United States.
“I made them a promise that when I meet with the President, I will tell him I visited this wonderful school in the Midwest where kids were just good kids,” he said. “I tell you I’ve been so impressed with the students and staff here. The students were inquisitive and engaged.”
During his presentation, Judge Edwards said he thinks its important for students and adults to remember the importance of understanding humanity and that what is done for others is what matters most. He also said that people depend on the generosity of each other, need to be respectful, and focus on doing the right things.
“I love teachers most,” he said. “I ask (the students) to thank their parents, who are their first teachers, and thank their secondary school teachers.”
More about Judge Edwards
Judge Edwards was recently recognized by the Missouri State Legislature and will be recognized by the United States Congress in March.
Judge Edwards is currently the Chief Juvenile Court Judge for the City of St. Louis and has been a circuit court judge for 18 years.
He started the Innova-tive Concept Academy at Blewett three years ago with a partnership between St. Louis Public Schools, MERS Goodwill, and the Family Court-Juvenile Division.
The academy’s focuses on at-risk youth for ages 10-18.
“I started the Innovative Concept Academy because I was tired of seeing kids come through juvenile court only to return to an environment and a home life fraught with problems,” Judge Edwards in his article ‘What Inspires You?’
“…Boys and girls, who just a couple of years ago were on the fast track to a life on the street or in prison, are now attending college and holding down jobs. School uniforms replaced gang colors, dreams replaced nightmares, and a whole new world of possibilities entered their minds. It may be hard for most Americans to imagine a childhood filled with hopelessness, parents in prison, the sound of gun shots on the street and drug pushers on the corner, but this is reality for the kids entering our school. It could have been my life, too, if not for the people who cared and the opportunities that came my way. Every child, and especially those who have made mistakes, deserves a chance to see the good in this world and to dream of what possibilities life has to offer.”
Stories have been written about ICA in People Magazine, St. Louis Magazine, Missouri Lawyers Weekly, and the Wall St. Journal.

Judge Edwards and ICA have also been featured on “The Today Show,” “CBS Early Show,” and NPR Radio,” among other shows.