The phrase echoed off the walls of the vast courtroom and all went silent at attention. During the last eighty years those words had been repeated during countless trials, only this time the historical site was filled with rows of BGCCW Children.
Michelle Maines, the Natrona County Commissioner’s Assistant, guided the tour through the County Courthouse. Everything from the rich history of the limestone and marble structure, to the operations of a courtroom were shared with the Club Kids. “And during a trial, if there were any danger, the judge could run and hide back in this bulletproof room!”
The Club Kids huddled together with countless questions, jumping up and down when they nervously stood inside the judge’s safe room. If that weren’t enough of an experience, each child got the chance to bang the antique gavel as well.
“It’s not only of educational importance,” Michelle insisted, “but so they know we have the busiest court and to be proud of its eighty years of history. Maybe inspire them to be a part of it one day too.”
The old jail, however, was by far the most exciting! As they walked the narrow halls, peeking in on the abandoned cells, the stories of past generations came to life. The tour lead through mazes of hallways and barred rooms, through old computer systems, and eerie winding staircases. They even got to measure themselves in an old booking area.
I never want to come to jail,” one Club kid shouted followed by her peers and another added, “I’d want to be an officer instead.” Which was fitting, since half the unused detention center is now recreated for officer training purposes.
While history and the judicial system are usually part of school curriculum, this opportunity provided a hands-on look into it. “We’re trying to grow productive, responsible citizens, and this opportunity adds to that,” said Cody Stanton, Verda James Club Director.
“Order in the court,” a giggling Club kid hit the gavel, envisioning what it might be like to one day be a judge in the historical building.