Students from Central Texas campuses of Classical Conversations held their 2017 Mock Trial April 20 in the 368th District Courtroom. All the students are home-schooled and in 8th or 9th grade. The trials represent a final presentation built on studies in rhetoric, public speaking, logic, presentation skills, and debate. Crystal Cano is a Round Rock campus director and says the students have been preparing for weeks and although a real courtroom and a real judge can be intimidating, they are ready and up for the challenge. “The kids see this as a celebration of many weeks of hard work and practice and they are excited to get do this in front of Judge Kennon.” North Austin director Stephanie Crown says the panel of jurors, made up of parents and teachers, is looking for good presentation skills and ability to communicate the case facts for the jury.
The Advocate spoke to sisters Heather, Hannah and Jennifer Pogson about their experience. Hannah says “I love how amazing it was when it all came together after so much hard work. It created a lot of friendships.” Jennifer says the most challenging part was trying not to be competitive with friends and classmates while still trying to do their best. “It was a little tough to memorize so much material but becoming familiar with something brand new and getting the feel for the courtroom was a great opportunity. Heather said she also loved being able to flex her creative muscles to make it all work.
For the second year in a row, Judge Kennon adjudicated the presentations and heard three versions of a civil liability case. He gave each group tips and critiques on everything from legal form to the law to public speaking. “I have seen these students in other educational settings and they are always impressive. Today, they all did very well; some really performed as well as lawyers I see in my courtroom every day.”