LORAIN COUNTY - The Educational Service Center of Lorain County held its annual Gifted Consortium Mock Trial event last Friday at the Lorain County Justice Center, with 451 students, 13 teachers and seven school districts participating, including Amherst, Avon Lake, Firelands, North Ridgeville, Oberlin, Perkins and Wellington.
Mock Trial is a county-wide program that simulates an actual courtroom trial, giving gifted students in grades 5-8 the opportunity to play all the key roles in a courtroom, acting as lawyers, witnesses, jurors, foremen and bailiffs.
Professional lawyers stood in as acting judges, using their knowledge and expertise to encourage exemplary courtroom etiquette. Area attorneys also visited these same students in their classrooms throughout the last few weeks, helping them prepare for their day in court.
Kurt Anderson, an attorney with Collins, Roche, Utley & Garner in Westlake, and a member of the Lorain County Bar Association’s Executive Committee, was one of those who donated his time, visiting students at Troy Intermediate School in Avon Lake. This is the eighth year he has participated in the mock trial event, and he enjoys explaining complex topics in simple language.
“I believe it’s important to give young kids an opportunity to compete, to debate, to learn to express themselves and think on their feet,” Anderson said. “Regardless what career they choose, they will need communication skills, and this is a great opportunity to create awareness and begin working on those skills.”
One of the students Anderson worked with at Troy Intermediate was Dylan Missal, a 6th grader in Heather Dalgleish’s class. Dylan said that preparing for Mock Trial has taken work and time, and you need to have communication skills.
“I have learned to go into detail about crossing a witness, preparing an opening statement and overall, what it takes to prepare for a trial,” Dylan said.
Dalgleish said Anderson helped her students see the big picture and explained exactly how a trial runs.
Educational Service Center Gifted Supervisors Cathy Fischer and Mark Millar said the goal of the Mock Trial is to provide students with real-life learning experiences that are an intrinsically motivational way for them to apply what they have learned.
Mock Trial is made possible with the support of the Lorain County Justice Center, the City of Elyria and professional attorneys, magistrates and judges throughout Lorain and Cuyahoga counties.