GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clerk of Court Tara Green was in the middle of her tour of Clay County schools when she explained the importance of understanding the constitution to students from junior and senior high schools.
Green, her office and the county archives worked with the school district two years ago to get Clay County history into the curriculum of eighth graders. That partnership was successful because students around the district are taking more field trips to the Clay County Historic Triangle.
Green’s constitutional tour through schools this week is just another extension of that partnership.
“What I’m doing this week is just an extension of the partnership that we have with the school system and with the county as it relates to the archives and continuing to build ways that we can all work together on how we educate our students and enrich their curriculum with experiences unique to Clay County,” Green said.
This celebration of Clay County history extends beyond just that partnership though. Green’s office received a grant from Clay Electric that paid for picnic tables that were installed in the historic triangle. This makes it even easier for teachers to make field trips to the historic triangle with students.
A field trip to the triangle might consist of a look at the behind-the-scenes of the archives, or a tour through the old jail, which some deem haunted. If might even consist of a visit to the old Clay County Courthouse.
Judge Steven Whittington recently sat in on a visit by elementary children to the old courthouse where he was asked about the history of the courthouse and the reason he wears a “black dress,” which Whittington quickly answered by explaining that it’s a robe.
“It’s really, at this point, just a function of getting the word out to teachers and administrators that we offer things like this (tour) because once they come, everyone has a blast,” Green said. “There’s so much to learn just in that triangle and so much of that history had an impact on the state or even country as a whole.”
Green hopes her tour not only raises awareness of the county’s rich history, but she hopes it teaches the importance of understanding the U.S. Constitution – not what they see and hear on television and in movies.
“We always try to get people a high-level overview of what we do here in our day-to-day because it’s a lot and people don’t really realize exactly what we do, but this tour is more so about the Sixth Amendment, breaking it down and walking these students through it piece by piece,” Green said. “We want the students to learn and experience our services at the courthouse as an observer rather than as a defendant or someone having to pay a ticket.”