Two high school students were arrested and jailed Dec. 12. But it was for a good cause.

Adam Long and Kim Gruber, both seniors at Wilmington High School, were chosen by votes of their peers to participate in the Latin Club’s Arrested Development day.

Each morning last week, Latin Club members collected money from middle and high school students for Lawrence County Children and Youth Services and the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County.

“The students wanted to raise money for places that help the area’s young people,” Latin teacher Marylee Houston said.

Over the course of the week, the students collected $830.11, to be split among the two agencies.

Each day had a jail theme, such as Jail Bait Day, when students could wear black-and-white stripes or orange jumpsuits to school. Cruel and Unusual Punishment Day featured selected seniors handcuffed to giant stuffed animals for the day, collecting 25-cent donations to be set free from their furry friends.

“We do a few fundraisers a year, but this has been the most elaborate,” Houston said.

“We generated a lot of buzz last week. The kids are excited.”

Houston said all 44 Latin Club members participated, making posters and working to collect money in preparation for Dec. 12’s “arrests.”

“We wanted to make it educational as well, and we were lucky enough to have the cooperation of the community.”

Wilmington Police Chief Carmen Piccirrillo volunteered to perform the mock arrest, reading Long and Gruber their rights and placing them in handcuffs before escorting them to a waiting squad car.

The students were charged with a variety of “misdemeanors,” such as “singing off-key” and “impersonating a comedian.”

The two seniors, along with the six Latin Club officers, were then “arraigned” at District Judge James Reed’s office. They proceeded to the Lawrence County jail where Long and Gruber were fingerprinted and mug shots were taken.

A tour of the Lawrence County courthouse and witnessing a real trial finished out the day.

“I’m excited about seeing a jail, but getting out of school is a bonus, too,” Gruber said before she was hauled away.

Justin Romeo, a senior and treasurer of the Latin Club, videotaped the day’s events for his media production class.

“I think the credit (for the fundraiser) goes to Mrs. Houston. She was the creative one, and we all wanted to help,” Romeo said.

This week, Romeo had three cousins, the Villellas, visiting from Bow, Australia. After receiving approval from Houston and Piccirrillo, his cousins were able to join in on Arrested Development Day.

“It will be interesting to see how the schools and courts are run here,” 16-year-old David Villella said.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen snow — it’s lovely,” he added.

Piccirrillo was happy to have them, and eager to participate in the day’s events.

“It’s just great to see young people doing this for the community.”

William C. Lyon, the high school principal, supervised the “arrests” of his students and watched the crowd of handcuffed seniors, Latin Club officers and visiting Australians depart to the district judge’s office.

“The Latin Club is very organized and active,” Lyon said. “This took a lot of planning on their part. We’re thankful to Chief Piccirrillo and to the borough for cooperating.”

Houston seemed to be satisfied, and is already planning for next year.

“We’re hoping this becomes a tradition.”

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