LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After success in the forum’s first year in 2018, 99th District Court Judge William C. Sowder again welcomed members of the Lubbock High School football team to the Lubbock County Courthouse for talks about life, law and leadership.
“Based on the jobs I’ve had up here at the courthouse, D.A. and Judge, I see a need for young people to have mentors, to have some training and mentorship,” Judge Sowder said.
Combining his love for football and working with young people, Sowder developed a curriculum and obtained the resources to spend several hours with members of the team.
"I want them to say, ‘I am somebody. I can do it. I want to be the right kind of man and I want to start making choices along those lines and do the right things for the right reasons',” Sowder said.
He does that by bringing in speakers, including some who have come to the Judge as defendants and who have now turned their lives around. District Attorney Sunshine Stanek also spoke to the group about making good choices and setting examples for other Lubbock juveniles.
Judge Sowder shared his own life and family experiences. He also conducted team-building exercises with players, which prompted them to share positive qualities about other team members.
“It’s a good learning experience,” Senior Jerimiah Vasquez said. “I picked up a lot about character... I think I could use most of it in my daily life and apply it to affect others, knowing what I do makes an impact on others’ lives. I think I’ll take it onto the field and off the field to become a great leader.”
The trip to the courthouse also helped explain the law and operations of the county judicial system.
“I hope they start making good decisions and be somebody, go do something and make our society better,” Sowder said. “I hope that’s the thought they have, ‘I want to do this. I can do it and this is the way I need to do it.’ I hope that’s what is going on in their brain when they walk out of here.”
Sowder said Monterey and Estacado High School have participated in the forum. He hopes to gather enough resources to open it up to female athletes as well as non-athletes.