To introduce and integrate students into the American judicial system, 8th graders participated in a mock trial, replete with student plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers, and witnesses. Administrators and parents who work in the legal system lent their expertise as judges and jury members. Several 8th grade parents were touched by the experience and took the time to write about their impressions of the day.
This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to participate in the Mock Jury Focus Day with the eighth graders, and I was impressed at how seriously these kids engaged in their roles, and how excited and prepared they were to deliver a very persuasive case. The coaching that had occurred prior to the courtroom day was clear; they had a strong grasp of how to deliver effective and concise opening statements, their questioning strategies allowed the events to unfold in support of their arguments, and both sides made powerful closing arguments that were well-articulated. They also worked really well as “legal” teams supporting each other, and the learning experience from this day was very authentic–you could have heard a pin drop in the room when the jury came back in to deliver the verdict! Bringing in the parents as jurors was a great addition, and I would highly recommend the experience to all future eighth grade parents that can take advantage of it. This is a day you don’t want to miss.
My daughter informed me at the end of the day that she is now considering law as a possible career choice going forward–I think that pretty much sums up the value of the experience from her perspective! Thanks again to Nancy, Ted, and all the faculty for the work that went into making this day possible; the rewards were well worth the efforts! –Pam Yares, Parent of 8th grader
I thoroughly enjoyed serving on the jury! My favorite part was watching the students transition from working on an assigned activity to becoming completely engaged and passionate as they melded into their roles as prosecutors, defense counsel, defendants and witnesses. I believe that they even forgot at times that there was a script to follow and let their knowledge and love of learning come into play. Thank you for the opportunity to experience their enthusiasm! –Dana Mayo, Parent of 8th grader
I was absolutely delighted to see the engagement, attentiveness and care with which all of the students approached the day. The effort that everyone put into making the activity a rich learning experience was remarkable, and the teamwork and support that the students displayed throughout the day was truly inspiring. I had a wonderful time participating with the students and I applaud everyone for their enthusiastic efforts in making this a rewarding learning experience for all. –Darcelle Lahr, Parent of 8th grader