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Justice returns to North Country alma mater to speak to students

Union Leader Correspondent

April 15. 2014 11:46PM
With State Sen. Jeff Woodburn looking on, Senior Associate Justice Gary E. Hicks of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, who is also a member of the Colebrook Academy Class of 1971, addressed students Monday afternoon at his alma mater. (OHN KOZIOL/Union Leader Correspondent)

COLEBROOK — Gary E. Hicks, Colebrook Academy Class of 1971, returned to speak at his old school.

The current Senior Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Monday told students at his alma mater to aim high and to cherish their time in the classroom.

Hicks, accompanied by State Sen. Jeff Woodburn, D-Dalton, met with North Country students at the Whitefield School, then Colebrook Elementary School, before wrapping up his day at Colebrook Academy where he spoke to several dozen students in Ron Patterson's class.

A native of Colebrook, Hicks was sworn in as the 104th Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Jan. 31, 2006, after serving for four years on the Superior Court.

Now a resident of Manchester, Hicks has also been a frequent public speaker, a fact that he touched on Monday.

"I've been talking to groups like you," Hicks told CA students, "for close to 35 years."

Having recently turned 60, with only 10 years left to serve on the Supreme Court before mandatory retirement, Hicks said he also realized his time as a speaker was winding down.

"I don't know how much longer people will listen."

He said being at Colebrook Academy as a student was "an experience I will treasure the rest of my life."

He advised current students against doing drugs and texting while driving and after the talk, said it was great to be back at his old high school and also to be on the high court, a place he reached thanks to what he first learned at CA."I love what I do. It's an extreme honor and in a different way, I represent the North Country like Sen. Woodburn," said Hicks.

The senior associate justice said students at all three schools he and Woodburn visited had asked good questions, adding that it was interesting to meet with students at CA, some of whom are in the YMCA's Youth and Government program.

While a member of CA's program, Hicks recalled that he ran for governor "and I lost." That, however, was one of the few setbacks in Hicks' life.

"I got one of the best educations I could have gotten" at Colebrook Academy, said Hicks.

Woodburn said, "The North Country is very proud of Justice Hicks and I know that our young people will be inspired by his successful climb from Colebrook Academy to the state's highest court."

Joanne Melanson, who is the principal of Colebrook Academy, a school with 119 students in grades 9-12, said it was an honor to have Hicks come back to talk to students.

She said Hicks is one of many CA graduates who've gone on to successful, professional careers.

Education NH People General News Colebrook

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