Ashtabula School Visits Supreme Court for First Time Thanks to Grant, Law Foundation
By Jenna Gant| November 27, 2012
Sixth grade students from Superior Intermediate School drove about 3.5 hours from Ashtabula for a field trip to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center. It's the first time ever a school from Ashtabula County made the trek to Columbus to visit the Ohio Supreme Court.
"The more that they are hearing about what an exciting experience this is and that we're the first from Ashtabula County, they really are excited. They didn't realize how big this is," said Maureen Novak, a teacher from Superior Intermediate School.
The students' teacher, Maureen Novak, applied on a whim for one of the Visitor Education Center's transportation grants worth up to $440. It's the second year the center provided transportation grants to help schools pay for bussing to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Novak was ecstatic when her class received the grant, but she was still more than $1,000 short of the total cost for bussing. Not giving up hope on the field trip, Novak turned to the Ashtabula County Bar Association.
"She was asking me if there was any funds available through the bar association to make up the difference between the cost of transportation and the grant they received from the Supreme Court," said Nicholas Iarocci.
Nicholas Iarocci (I-Roache-EE) is the association's president and also happens to be a trustee on the Law Foundation of Ashtabula County. The foundation helps promote the public's understanding of the law through outreach, and members thought Novak's request was a perfect fit.
"Having the opportunity to help a group of elementary school students visit the education center at the Supreme Court is exactly what our purpose is. It's to help them understand the justice system, to learn more about it. They'll understand it better and they'll have more respect for it," said Stuart Cordell, the foundation's president.
Novak was excited that her students would finally be able to see the court in person and get a hands-on learning experience about the judicial system.
"We are just so fortunate to have this opportunity," Novak said. "It would not be possible without the two joined together."
Novak's students visited the education center and participated in a First Amendment mock trial. Aaron Thompson thought it was great being the first class from Ashtabula to visit the state's Supreme Court, even if it meant he had to be at school by 7 a.m. in order to make the lengthy bus ride.
"It was long, but it was worth it," Thompson said. "I thought that we were really lucky to have an opportunity like this to come to such a great place."
Visiting a great place like the Supreme Court is something that Novak hopes becomes a new school tradition.