Odessa teens will likely miss Tammy Hawkins who has coordinated the Teen Court for 25 years in Odessa.

Her retirement will mean more time for her with parents and grandchildren and even travel with her husband.

She will be missed.

She has run a tight ship and seen thousands go through the program during the years.

Teen Court is a program for first-time offenders given a class C misdemeanor who are at least 10 to 18 or older if they are still in high school. By going through teen court, the citation is taken off of their records. Those cited stand before a jury of teens who have also gone through the Teen Court system, who issue a sentence of community service hours and a number of jury duties they have to serve for the citation.

“It’s for kids that made a mistake,” Hawkins said. “It’s not for bad kids; it’s for good kids that made a bad choice.”

We couldn’t agree more with that description and thank Hawkins for her years of service in a worthy endeavor that helps teens learn about consequences and responsibility.

What better way to offer encouragement than by pointing them in the right direction instead of just giving them a fine. Who knows? It may have even spawned an interest in the law as well as an interest in not getting in trouble again among the many faces that have gone through the court.

Teen Court meets on Monday nights at the Ector County Courthouse about two to three times a month.

Teenagers from all walks of life come through Teen Court, rich or poor. Hawkins said many of those who go through the court system come back to act as attorneys, and seniors in high school can be given scholarships. Between 500 and 800 minors go through Teen Court every year.

She said it has been a rewarding career.

“Our community has embraced this program because it works,” Hawkins said. “The whole entire city of Odessa has embraced us and that’s what has kept us up for 34 years.”

We thank her for her efforts during the past 25 years and wish luck to her replacement, Rebecca Grisham. This is a program that Odessa can be proud of and that deserves all of our support.