Ponderosa Alum at Courts in the Community

Alum Returns to the Halls of Ponderosa
Posted on 11/04/2019
All Rise! Alum Returns to the Halls of Ponderosa
High School Students Witness Real Court Cases

PARKER -- Many people return to their old high school, reminiscing over fond memories of teachers and friends. However, not many return as a full-fledged judge as one Ponderosa High School alum did for a program called Courts in the Community.

The alum, Judge Jaclyn Casey Brown of the 11th Judicial District of the Colorado Court of Appeals, returned to preside over two court cases on the auditorium stage she once performed on as a student.

“I always had high goals for myself,” Brown says, “I was involved in a lot of AP classes and I think the academic rigor at Ponderosa High School prepared me to succeed in college and law school.”

Brown emphasizes that her involvement on the Poms dance team demanded excellence of her as a student and as a sport -- setting a framework for self-discipline that came in handy as a litigator.

She didn’t always have her sights set on the stand– when Brown graduated from Ponderosa High School in 1999, she wanted to pursue medicine with an emphasis in molecular cellular biology. When that didn’t pan out, she gravitated towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting. Ultimately, it was an English degree that gave her the foundations she needed for law school.

“I think it’s awesome,” says Ponderosa Junior Murphy Schaff of Brown returning for Courts in the Community. “It really shows that this school can do for you.”

Schaff, along with an auditorium full of students, witnessed Judge Brown at work as lawyers presented arguments before her and two other judges: John Daniel Dailey and David J. Richman.


The Courts in the Community program was developed in 1986 to give high school students insight into the Colorado judicial system and illustrate how disputes are resolved in a democratic society. The two cases the students witnessed were not mock proceedings.

For some students, witnessing real cases made a huge difference.

“It’s one thing learning about it in class,” says Junior Max Panning, “But this is like a real-world application of what we’re learning.”

Teacher James Olsen thinks Courts in the Community was a great opportunity for his AP United States History class: “They can see the way the system works and employ the knowledge they’ve already learned.”

After arguments, students had the opportunity for question-and-answer sessions with the attorneys and judges.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.

In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.