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TCL > March 2014 Issue > Ralph Carr Judicial Center Provides an Interactive Learning Experience

March 2014       Vol. 43, No. 3       Page  13
In and Around the Bar
Bar News Highlight

Ralph Carr Judicial Center Provides an Interactive Learning Experience

 

About the Author

Ryan Tamm is a 2013 graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, and currently serves as an appellate law clerk to Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Terry Fox—(720) 625-5248, ryan.tamm@judicial.state.co.us. Tamm, along with co-clerk Jessica Lowery, a 2012 Colorado Law graduate, welcomed the Twombly students to the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center.


The Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center had a younger than usual crowd on Friday, November 22. That day, more than seventy fifth-graders from Twombly Elementary School traveled from Fort Lupton to Denver to tour the Judicial Center, which houses the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals. Their visit to the Center—which opened in December 2012 and was dedicated on May 3, 2013—gave the students an opportunity to learn about the judicial system, the rule of law, and what it takes to become a judge.

When the students arrived at the Judicial Center, their first stop was the first-floor court of appeals courtroom, where they met Court of Appeals Judge Terry Fox. Judge Fox welcomed the students to the court, and gave a presentation explaining the importance of the rule of law, describing the role of judges in the judicial system, and outlining the appellate process. Judge Fox also answered students’ questions about the court of appeals and about her responsibilities as an appellate judge.

 
Jacob Trujillo dons a judicial robe in the Learning Center.   A Twombly student at the "Hear From a Judge" exhibit in the Learning Center.

The students seemed to be especially interested in learning how one goes about becoming a judge. The best preparation for a career in the law, Judge Fox told the students, is a good education. Like many of the Twombly students, Terry Fox grew up in a Spanish-speaking household. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, and would become the first lawyer—and the first judge—in her family.

After their visit with Judge Fox, the Twombly students toured the Judicial Center. Many stopped in the atrium to admire the glass dome overhead and the large tile image of the columbine flower underfoot. Next, they saw the Supreme Court courtroom and paid a visit to Judge Fox’s chambers. Some students even visited the court of appeals robing room, a private dressing room for the judges that is rarely seen by members of the public.

The final stop on the tour was the Learning Center, a 4,000 square-foot interactive classroom with games, videos, and learning tools for all ages. There, students could take a self-guided tour of Colorado’s Judicial Branch and learn the history of the rule of law.

Before long, it was time for the students to head back to Fort Lupton. They filtered out of the building and back onto the school buses that brought them there. As they left, many glanced back at the huge stone pillars and the glass dome exterior of the Judicial Center. It was not hard to imagine that there might be a few future lawyers—and maybe even some future judges—in their ranks.

 
Students tour the Learning Center.   Students use the Learning Center’s interactive exhibits.

One of the Twombly teachers, Steven Trujillo, said the following about the students’ experience: "Visiting with Judge Fox at the Ralph Carr Center helped my students better understand the importance of education and the rewards of hard work." The teachers and students of Twombly Elementary thank Judge Fox for hosting their visit, as well as Jordan Fox of Sherman & Howard LLC for his contribution to their transportation costs. As student Hilda Salas summed up the experience: "It was an amazing day!"

Twombly Elementary, Mr. Chacon’s fifth-grade class.
 
Twombly Elementary, Mrs. Strange’s fifth-grade class.
 
 Twombly Elementary, Mr. Trujillo’s fifth-grade class.
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