COURTROOM DRAMA by Donna McBride
After nearly five months of practice, students walk into a real courtroom at Pinal County Superior Courthouse in Florence to showcase their prosecution and defense skills before real superior court judges.
ourtrooms, attorneys, witnesses, tears, cross examinations and a verdict – sounds like a scene out of a Law and Order episode, doesn’t it? For Pinal County Juvenile Court, it is actually part of their Community Advisory Board’s (CAB) educational goal. For the past 13 years, the CAB has sponsored a Mock Trial Competition for middle school and high school students. Over the years the competition has grown from five teams to as many as 20. Nearly 250 students take part by learning about a specific case and selecting their parts (attorneys, witnesses, victims, etc.). Pinal County is the only county in the state that offers a local competition. It has become so popular over the years that Casa Grande Elementary School District includes a mock trial class as part of its curriculum. In fact, the CAB recently took home the “Award of Excellence” from the
Arizona Court Association for the Division 2 category, Picacho teams tied annual competition. for first place against each other and Villago Middle School took second place. After nearly five months of practice, students walk into a real courtroom Could students have learned the at Pinal County Superior Courthouse same thing in a textbook? Maybe. But in Florence to showcase their prosediving into their roles and learning from real attorneys and judges about cution and defense skills before real court procedures will likely stick with superior court judges. The day-long them too. Some have even decided to competition ends with the judges further their education in the field of selecting the best teams and giving law and justice because of their exindividual awards for best witness, opening statement, closing stateperience with Mock Trial. And years from now when they are rummaging ments, cross examination, direction through their old school memorabilexamination, and witness. In March, the competition awardia and find their Mock Trial medals, they will fondly remember the lessons ed Miami High School teams with both learned from real professionals. first and second place in the high school division. Middle School Division No. 1 ended with The CAB represents a group of volunteers Cactus Middle who are appointed by the Presiding JuveSchool receiving nile Judge. The board dedicates hundreds first place and Casa Grande Midof hours a year to promote positive actividle School coming ties for youth and families in Pinal Counin second. In the
ty while also being the eyes and ears of Juvenile Court Service.
EDUCATING THE SELF-SUSTAINING CITIZEN (continued) continued from page 30... The generalities of families and ownership followed. I realize that the lug nut jobs are no longer fashionable but many occupations have some sort of replacement entry level activity. So, on the journey to the world of work, what does an individual need to learn? Jobs for Life is a faith-based example of some of the skills and beliefs that help an individual get past the employment interviewer and operate successfully under the watchful eye of
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the boss. It is one of several programs of its type. In our experience it works. Students have “aha” moments. They enjoy some little personal victories. They earn wages. They participate in our economy. Finally, they understand the importance of replicating this process over and over again with offspring and family members. There’s not a singular menu of very specific things a person must remember in order to be employable. The most valuable skills support the willingness of individuals to take
responsibility for doing what they have agreed to do in return for wages. The most important personal trait is adaptability. The characteristics of the world of work are changing almost faster than we can record them and teach them. Recognizing new opportunities is important to our workplace survival. I have heard that somewhere out there is a piece of research that says children from broken homes are more successful than others at entrepreneurship. Hmmm. We’ll have to look into that.
THE THE EDUCATION EDUCATIONEDITION EDITION
Summer 2016 Vol II