St. Kateri Academy eighth-graders recently had “their day in court.”
No, the students hadn’t run afoul of the law. They, under the guidance of teachers Sherry Schafer, Susan Bihn and Lauren Ridenhower, paid a visit to Oregon Municipal Court as part of the “My Day in Court Program” sponsored by the Exchange Club in conjunction with Judge Jeffery Keller.
The focus of “My Day in Court” is to show young citizens how the judicial system works and how the law is administered.
|Top, Oregon Municipal Court, students from Kateri take notes as Judge Jeffery B. Keller, (bottom right) and Baliff Trent Schroeder (bottom left) explain the workings of the courtroom in a question and answer period. The courtroom visit was sponsored by the Exchange Club. (Press photos by Ken Grosjean)|
“Since crime prevention requires an early understanding of America’s complex justice system, an awareness of the laws, and the consequences of breaking those laws, ‘My Day in Court’ provides a hands-on learning experience of our judicial system,” said Jim Addis, director of Club/Membership Development & Events for the Exchange Club.
“The program requires the cooperation and participation of a judge who hears both misdemeanor and felony cases, the municipal or county court system and the local schools,” Addis said.
Open to students in sixth grade through junior high, “My Day in Court” gives students the opportunity to sit in a courtroom while a judge hears arraignments on a variety of criminal matters. After the court session, the students can ask the judge questions. They also take notes during the hearings and later write an essay on their experience. The Exchange Club of Greater Maumee Bay selects a winning essay from each class. The student winners, their parents and teachers, along with the judge and bailiff are invited to attend an Exchange Club meeting where the winners are recognized and read their essays.
“My Day in Court” certificates are presented to all the students upon completion of the project.
The National Exchange Club – a service organization with 700 clubs and more than 21,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico – celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. Founded in 1911 in Detroit by business leaders who wanted to “exchange” ideas on making their community better, the Exchange Club moved its headquarters to Toledo in 1917.
The club’s core values are Family, Community and Country. Visit www.nationalexchangeclub.org for more information.