When high school junior Michelle Yang stepped into the Ohio Judicial Center for the first time, she was in awe.
She and nearly two dozen upperclassmen from Hathaway Brown School, an all-girls school in Shaker Heights, visited the home of the Supreme Court of Ohio and listened in on oral arguments.
After touring the Visitor Education Center, the students met one-on-one with Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.
Chief Justice O'Connor told the girls that she originally wanted to become a doctor, and then a teacher, before deciding on her path that eventually led her to become the Supreme Court of Ohio's Chief Justice.
Yang said she was surprised at how "real" the Chief seemed and said she is really motivating.
"It's just amazing to see how the Supreme Court Justice is a woman and how she got to where she was and how she really influences all of us at an all girls school to be powerful, women leaders," Yang said. "She's just a woman leader we can all aspire to be."
Sarah James said she plans to study law once she graduates and said after speaking with Chief Justice O'Connor she knows she's meant for bigger and better things.
"I don't think I'd want to use my law degree just to be an attorney or whatnot. I would want to become a judge, so to see a strong female figure in a role I aspire to fill someday was really inspirational," James said.
Joe Vogel, James and Yang's teacher, said it was important to bring his students to the Ohio Judicial Center to learn about the role of the court and how it affects their everyday lives.
He was excited for them to meet the Chief Justice as well.
"For them to be able to see in her, that they can one day have this sort of position as well, and what the Chief has done throughout her professional career in order to get here," Vogel said. "I think it's not only valuable but also very influential as well for high school students as they are thinking about a career path."
While Vogel has never brought his students to the Ohio Judicial Center during his 8 years at Hathaway Brown, he said he now plans to bring students every year after such a worthwhile visit.