Spring Tour Surge
By Anne Yeager | May 25, 2018
Spring is here, and the floodgates have opened for student tours at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.
During the 2017-18 school year, tour guides have given over 200 school tours for the more than 10,100 students who have passed through the doors of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Tour guides usually take students to the Courtroom first.
"They walk in and we hear a lot of 'oohs' and 'ahhss,'" said Catherine Stroup, a volunteer tour guide.
Shauneece Brandon, from Zanesville Middle School, was a fan of the architecture.
"In the original courtroom, I like all the designs and the techniques they use," she said. "In Zanesville, they don't have that kind of stuff there."
From the Courtroom, the tour guides lead students to the Grand Concourse, through the ornate elevator lobby, and downstairs to the Native American lobby.
"My personal favorite space is the Native American lobby," Stroup said. "It has beautiful mosaics and a lot of architectural detail."
From the Native American lobby, students are then led to a mock trial courtroom to participate in a scripted trial where they all have a role to play.
"It's based on a fact pattern involving Harry Potter," Stroup said." They get into it. A lot of the students get theatrical and dramatic. I think they enjoy it."
She's right about that.
"I liked doing the mock trial," said Jillian Wiersma, from Zanesville Middle School. "I thought it was really cool getting to experiment what it might be like."
From the mock trial activity, tour guides then usher students into the Visitor Education Center, where they talk with students about one or more of the eight real Ohio court cases that are profiled in the exhibit area. Guides use the cases to illustrate the types of decisions judges and justices have to make and how those decisions impact citizens' lives.
"My favorite part was looking at the different cases in Ohio," said Julian Jackson, of Zanesville Middle School. "There's been interesting ones that a lot of people don't know about. If you don't know your amendments or the Constitution very well, and you come to court, you'd be in trouble."
From there, the students learn the difference between the three branches of government and then get a sneak peek at a "Day in the Life" video.
It includes clips of oral arguments before the seven Ohio Supreme Court justices and shows what happens after court adjourns for the day. Students are able to see the justices deliberating and deciding cases, as well as assigning a justice to write the majority opinion.
Tour guides say the students leave excited and inspired.
"I think this is a very special building," Stroup said. "I like sharing it with people. Frequently, we have people coming in and they have a look of surprise like, I had no idea this was here."
If you'd like to schedule a guided tour, or for more information about visiting the Moyer Judicial Center, please call 614.387.9223 or email courtTours@sc.ohio.gov.