After nearly 30 years on the bench, the Hon. Barbara J. Rouse, chief justice of the Massachusetts superior court, will be retiring this December. Her farewell tour includes stops throughout the commonwealth and last week featured a visit to the Vineyard, where Judge Rouse spoke with students from Olson Houghton’s high school history and leadership classes. The Hon. Richard Chin, an associate justice of the superior court who is presiding over the fall court sitting, was also in attendance, along with Edgartown district court clerk magistrate Liza Williamson, Dukes County bar association president Martin V. Tomassian and several local attorneys.

Dukes County clerk of courts Joseph E. Sollitto Jr. thanked Geraldine Moriarty for her help arranging the class visit, and introduced Judge Rouse to the room.

“It’s with a touch of sadness that we say goodbye,” Mr. Sollitto said. Judge Rouse presided in the Dukes County courtroom in 2002 and returned in 2009, during the 150th anniversary celebration of the Massachusetts superior court. That visit, too, featured several educational events.

“It’s a true pleasure to be back here on Martha’s Vineyard,” Judge Rouse said.

The class first watched a video that is shown to all prospective jurors, so they could gain a better understanding of jury duty, which Mr. Tomassian described as “one of the most important duties a citizen can perform.” He also underscored the importance of voting.

Judge Rouse said that she had been called to jury duty several times, but had not actually served, a markedly different experience from Judge Chin’s. Two weeks after being sworn in as a judge, he was on the deliberating panel for a first-degree murder trial.

“As a new judge, it was probably the best job I could have had,” Judge Chin said, noting that he came away impressed by his fellow jurors.

Mr. Tomassian described the process of becoming a judge, which includes an initial application, calls to other lawyers and judges to background checks from the governor’s office, and finally a public hearing before the governor’s council.

“You get confirmed, or you don’t,” he said.

Judge Rouse and Judge Chin took questions from the students, ranging from what degrees were needed to be a judge (a bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctorate) to what the hardest aspect of being a judge was.

“When you have to sentence somebody and deprive them of their liberties,” Judge Chin said. It was not something judges took lightly, he said.

“I would concur with that, I really would,” Judge Rouse said. “Juries really are so valuable to use because you have ability to . . . examine evidence collectively.”

In response to another question about whether judges can overrule juries, Judge Rouse said: “We have that power, but we exercise it very, very sparingly.”

In her own career, she said, she estimated she had overruled a jury no more than three times.

Mr. Tomassian encouraged students to touch base with him about the possibility of starting a moot court as an extracurricular activity.

“I don’t think it’s too late for this season,” he said.