COVINGTON, Ga. - On April 23, a team of eighth grade homeschooled students from Newton and Walton counties - as a part of local Classical Conversations communities located in Covington and in the Bethlehem-Winder area - competed in a mock trial at the Newton County Judicial Center.
Alcovy Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn presided and three local attorneys, Mark Yun, from the public defender’s office, Mandisa Styles, law clerk for Ozburn, and Anusay Yasin, assistant district attorney, served as jurors along with several parent volunteers. Kelly Fryer served as the court reporter. Students played roles as attorneys and witnesses for the prosecution and the defense.
The students were given a criminal case that was originally used in the 1990 Georgia and South Carolina State Competitions. Students studied the case for several weeks, discussing the specifics and strategy during their weekly community day. As a team, the students decide on the most effective way to present their case and perform it for their parents, friends, a jury and a judge.
Mock trial allows students to have an authentic experience studying the judicial process while helping them develop critical thinking, public speaking, persuasive presentation and argumentation skills, which are invaluable life skills.