SPRINGFIELD — Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni hosted the 8th grade students from Holyoke’s Lt. Elmer J. McMahon Elementary School in downtown Springfield on Tuesday as part of the Adopt-a-Class Program.
Every year, Gulluni’s office adopts two classes at the beginning of the school year. The program includes the D.A.’s office donating school supplies, a return visit to provide a lesson in civics, and participation in a trial reenactment.
The program concludes later in the year with participating classes spending a half day touring the Hampden County Hall of Justice as an invited guest of the district attorney.
In addition to the tour, guest speakers provide insight on the different offices that make up the criminal justice system inside the court house, as well as, showcasing career opportunities.
On Tuesday, Gulluni took the students to speak with Judge Charles Groce, who explained his role in the justice system.
Gulluni, in his conversation with the students, explained that his office is responsible for 23 cities and towns, and is operated by a staff of 160 people. According to Gulluni, in 2016, Springfield District Court heard more than 11,000 cases, a number which he says was the highest in Massachusetts.
Gulluni explained what it takes to keep the office running smoothly on a daily basis and he emphasized the importance of hard work and self confidence.
“It was wonderful having the students from Holyoke’s McMahon Elementary here today. Opening up the justice system to young people from across the county in an engaging and meaningful way is an important function of this office,” Gulluni said after the tour. “Providing them with the knowledge to make good decisions, as well as providing potential career opportunities, is part of our fundamental mission of crime prevention.”