Schools to host Legal Eagles reunion program|
Thursday, October 04, 2012
You can't keep a good program down.
So after some discussion and cajoling, Legal Eagles is returning Thursday for a one-day reunion program at Clearfield Area Middle School from 9-10 a.m and West Branch School District from 1-2 p.m.
Taking part in the event will be familiar faces associated with the program, including District Judge Jerry Nevling, Trooper Bruce Morris of the PSP, program founder Mark Falvo, Russell Brought and Jeff Rhone. Ike the Spike, mascot for the State College Spikes baseball team, will also tag along.
According to Nevling, it is a final farewell of sorts, a way to provide closure to the popular educational program which ran for nine years in area schools, bringing guest speakers, K-9s, mascots, mayhem and fun to the students.
But make no mistake, the students learned from the presentations - mostly about professions within the legal system.
"It was a cross-reference of the court system. Lawyers, judges, the sheriff's department, police officers, probation. Everyone came in and offered their stories to the kids, they would answer questions and entertain them, but let them learn from it," said Nevling.
Morris said the draw of Legal Eagles was the program itself.
"The kids are fascinated by the vast diversity of presenters that speak to them. Astronauts, judges, polices officers, etc., are mainly just an image children form in their minds from TV or movies, but Legal Eagles put a face on that image. The children realize a real person is inside that uniform," said Morris.
Since October is Anti-Bullying Month, Thursday's programs will focus on topics Legal Eagles discussed throughout the successful run enjoyed by the program. However, according to Falvo, "Presenters will also focus on new problems and the growing awareness of bullying and cyberbullying."
He added, "Hopefully we can help students in these two schools see that bullies never have the power to define us as individuals."
Falvo said although Legal Eagles, now sponsored by the Clearfield County Sheriff's Department, has not been active within the past two years, he welcomed the opportunity to revisit the two schools.
"With the interest that was expressed, we decided to come together for a ‘reunion' and talk to students about issues that have become major epidemics in our society that carry over into our schools," he said.
As for rejuvenating the Legal Eagles program, Falvo reiterated that for now it is a one-day gig.
"We are very grateful for the interest in Legal Eagles by the students, teachers, administrators and parents. As long as there is interest, we cannot or will not ignore schools that invite us in periodically. It is very humbling and it is very much an honor to be asked back," he said.
Falvo said the program was a success because of the presenters. "They came into the schools and gave of their time. They made it fun for the students to learn."
However, Nevling said the credit goes to Falvo. "He was the sweat and the backbone of the program. He was the one who put in the hours and time, did the grunt work - we just showed up and had a good time with the kids" said Nevling, who noted the program earned a lot of recognition throughout the years.
Added Morris, "Mark was the sole creator of the Legal Eagles program and served as a one-man committee overseeing its growth and its overwhelming success. He scheduled all the events, publicized and promoted the program, raised funds for it, donated his own money to it when funds were short and even provided transportation for presenters on many occasions. He rightly deserved the credit for the program...period."