Speech students participate in mock trial


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Students from the speech class and the adult members of the mock trial take a quick break for lunch before continuing to work on the evidence and debates surrounding the mock trial that an Arkansas lawyer argued in front of them Tuesday. The trial he was practicing on is a civil matter that will be tried in Leon County later this year.

    When an Arkansas lawyer contacted principal Tracy Gleghorn to ask about utilizing both the high school’s facilities and a group of 12 students for a mock trial presentation to prepare for a real trial in Leon County later in the spring, she thought it would be a good fit for the UIl speech students, especially the debaters. Earlier this week, the group had a chance to sit in, along with adult “test” jurors from the area, and listen to arguments as different pieces of information was doled out.

    “One of the primary goals for the lawyers was a chance to see how people of different ages and backgrounds in our area reacted to different types of information,” CX debate coach Melonie Menefee said. “It was a good lesson for our debaters that the same information is often perceived in different ways by different people. They saw that in action today, just in what they came away from the experience with.”

    The students spent most of the school day with the group, including a catered, working lunch. The case involved a fatality wreck that occurred outside of Buffalo about two years ago and which reportedly involved using a cell phone while driving.

    “I learned so much I can’t even say it all,” senior Jade Morales said. “Mostly I learned how the law works and that always having an open mind is very important. I learned that nobody is truly innocent or at fault. And that even adults are have crazy moments and make no sense sometimes.”

    While the students who have been a part of debate before knew a little of what to expect, the speech students who are not part of the debate team saw a whole new world compared to what they are used to.

    “I thought it was a wonderfully fun learning experience,” senior Julie Cook said. “I’ve never really debated before and this was a whole new world that I was introduced into. Who knows – maybe I’ll become a lawyer.”

    Whether the day proves to be a career-changer remains to be seen, but it definitely changed the way the students saw the legal system and how it works.

    “I thought it was a really good way to see how the courtroom works and a way learn about the law” Morales said. “The adults in their drove me crazy but it helped me see that an open mind is very important. I personally learned from the mock trial that nobody is ever completely innocent.”