District mock trial competitions return for first time in three years

WTAP News @ 11 - District mock trial competitions return for first time in three years
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 7:23 PM EST
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - For the first time in three years, the district mock trial competition is back in-person.

“So, this is definitely a great experience for them to get out of the school and compete, use their brains and kind of show off some of their skills and preparation,” says juvenile and probate court magistrate, Randy Jedlink.

Students had to do the competition over Zoom during the pandemic.

Now, over one hundred students from four different schools are getting the chance to do mock trials in front of judges and other court officials again.

“Well, it’s super fun. And I feel like it’s a good opportunity to just get used to the courtroom,” says Belpre high school sophomore, Jasmine Wright. “I mean what other opportunity would you have as a high schooler to come to a courtroom like this and actually get to present in front of real judges.”

Officials say this competition teaches students a lot about how the criminal justice system works.

“Everything from argumentation to speaking and listening skills. I mean these students here today have read 17 Supreme Court cases to prepare for this. They have to develop those teamwork skills,” says Gallia Academy high school mock trial advisor, Aaron Walker. “It’s amazing. And I could find nothing better to prepare students for what they want to do.”

This competition is also a great opportunity to encourage students interested in going into law.

“So, mock trial is actually my favorite class. I hope to be a prosecuting attorney when I grow up,” says Wright. “And so, this year, I’ve been on the side of the prosecution. It is so much fun and I love it.”

Legal advisors say these competitions bring out the best in these students.

“It’s so hard. Like mock trial is the hardest thing that we do all year. So, my kids, I’m so proud of them. You know, you look at it and to be honest, you cringe a little bit because they missed something. They missed an objection. But truly, I’m truly so proud of them,” says Walker. “For them to be able to stand up as 15-, 16-, 17-, 18-year olds and do this to compete like that, they have all my respect and admiration.”

Students from River Valley, Warren, Gallia Academy and Belpre competed.