The new law and justice program was a collaborative effort between the Flagler County Sheriff's Department and MHS students and staff.
Matanzas High School junior Marlee Schrum remembers watching "Sherlock Holmes" with her mother while growing up. It was their tradition, and it also inspired a passion for solving crimes.
"And then, she has this big 'Sherlock Holmes' book she would read to me before bed," Schrum added about her mother.
Schrum will now get to be one step closer to living out her childhood dream of becoming a medical examiner with the addition of Flagler Schools' 23rd flagship program: law and justice.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the program's launch took place on Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the justice classroom at Matanzas. A door covered with crime tape led Flagler Schools faculty and guests — including Florida Rep. Paul Renner and School Board members Janet McDonald, Andy Dance and Maria Barbosa — to the scene of the ceremony.
MHS Principal Jeff Reeves spoke about the program's humble beginnings last September when three students approached him in the courtyard during lunch with clipboards at their side.
"Mr. Reeves, we're going to need about a half an hour of your time," Reeves said the students voiced.
Reeves continued, "One of the things we stress here at Matanzas is not just student voice, but student leadership. That it's not just enough to have a voice, but to actually take a leadership position to see things come to fruition, and they really did an outstanding job of spearheading this."
The program will incorporate a justice class, which is where the ceremony took place, as well as a law class, where students will eventually be able to have mock trials and a teen court, said Reeves.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly thanked the students for their interest in law as a career path.
"My goal is, when I gave this assignment to Cmdr. Reynolds, I'm looking for explorers, I'm looking for future employees," Staly said. "And what better way to do it than homegrown?"
He also said that sometime in the next few months, a squad car personalized with the flagship's logo will be donated to the program to further the students' studies.
Schrum is also the president of the forensic student investigators club, which is now paired with the criminal justice side of the flagship. The club was started two years ago to compliment the forensic sciences class MHS already offered, but Schrum said she's looking forward to what the new flagship will provide for students.
"It benefits my studies because I now have opportunities to help make it into a job after college, so we can go from classroom to the workforce," Schrum said. "It gives me opportunities to work with police officers of Flagler County."