For a consecutive third year, Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton (JET) Middle School of Johnston in Edgefield County was named the winner of the South Carolina Bar’s State Middle School Mock Trial competition. This event was held in person for the first time in two years.
The JET Middle School team, led by Allison Rawls and attorney coach Blair Massey competed against 12 other middle schools for the title. Bob Jones Academy of Greenville was the first runner-up. “Winning this year was an awesome experience. Competing ‘in person' was very important to our eighth-grade students who had competed virtually for the last two years,” said teacher coach Allison Rawls. “Even though, we placed first during the virtual competitions, we were "Region Champs" so, bringing home the gavel and trophy this year was surreal. I am extremely proud of our entire team!”
This year, the teams presented the prosecution and defense sides of the fictitious criminal case, State of SC vs. Cy Miles in which Cy Miles had been indicted for murder or voluntary manslaughter. Each team was judged on its presentation skills, rather than the legal merits of the case. “I am so proud of the JET Middle School mock trial team,” said attorney coach Massey. “Each of these students worked incredibly hard, and it is so rewarding to see their hard work pay off. They have enjoyed competing virtually for the last two years, but it was such a wonderful experience to return to in person competition this year.”
Mock Trial develops critical thinking during pressured circumstances and helps students hone other key skills such as collaboration, adapting to different audiences, reading critically and matching material facts with elements of the law.
“Through this program, students not only learn about the court process but critical thinking, problem analysis and teamwork,” said Cynthia H. Cothran, Law Related Education (LRE) director of the South Carolina Bar. “The best thing to see is students growing up in the program. I have watched middle school students participate in High School Mock Trial, go to college, enroll in law school and then become South Carolina attorneys that volunteer in the very program that gave them their passion for law.”
The Mock Trial Program is sponsored by the SC Bar’s LRE Division, which was developed in 1976 to improve the ability of teachers to instruct law related education. The program is supported by the Bar’s LRE Committee and made possible through a SC Bar Foundation Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts grant and the SC Bar. The program cultivates an understanding of the legal system, critical thinking skills, problem analysis and teamwork.
The South Carolina Bar is a statewide organization dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law, and the administration of justice for all South Carolinians. It serves approximately 18,000 lawyer members and provides resources to educators and citizens of the Palmetto State. Learn more at scbar.org.
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