Supreme Court justice urges girls to achieve

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Kaiya Nelson, Jordan Hawes and Alyssa Westmoreland chat with Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet at the Today's Dreamers, Tomorrow's Leaders" event held Thursday evening at the Eclipse Center. Girls chatted with professional women, heard a keynote from Dallet and enjoyed a special evening as a reward for completing career preparedness and etiquette courses.

BELOIT - "You can do anything."

That's what Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet told young ladies in a talk at the "Today's Dreamers, Tomorrow's Leaders" event held Thursday evening at the Eclipse Center.

The Eclipse Center was filled with young ladies donning dresses with wee shrugs or jackets. The girls were interviewing professional women and filling up goody bags at various tables set up by local businesses before enjoying a formal dinner.

Hosted by the Stateline Boys and Girls Club, Thursday's event featured a talk by Dallet, dinner, program and keepsake for the girls. Girls who attended the event were required to complete six career exploration lessons and etiquette manners lessons which they were able to practice at the event.

Dallet shared the role of the Wisconsin Supreme Court which ensures the Constitution is followed and justice is carried out. She said the Wisconsin Supreme Court takes fewer than 100 cases per year, mostly involving when the law is unclear or someone's rights have been violated.

Dallet told the girls about some of the trailblazing role models in her career such as famous U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who paved the way. When Ginsburg graduated, she got turned down from law firms even though she ranked number one in her class.

She also praised Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and Wisconsin's first female Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is retiring in July after more than 40 years on the bench.

Dallet told girls there is nothing they can't do as women. More women are in men's fields including sports where there are women coaches, umpires and referees in men's professional sports. She said the time is coming when a woman will be in the NFL.

"The majority of students in medical and law schools are women, and even more women are entering the trades," Dallet said.

Dallet told girls Wisconsin was at the forefront of gender equality, becoming the first state to ratify the 19th amendment to give women the right to vote.

She urged girls to celebrate their rights and find a profession about which they are passionate.

"Don't let your age or gender stop you from making a difference. Don't ever give up and let's show the world what women can do," Dallet said.

Following Dallet's talk, Business and Education Director for Hendricks CareerTek Tina Salzman shared with girls all the many opportunities at CareerTek to learn about various careers. Career academies range from health science and police science to robotics and construction and more.

At Thursday's event, the Youth of the Year was also honored: Katherine Elizalde, a South Beloit High School ninth grader who encouraged girls to be courageous and face their fears.

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