On Tuesday, December 11th, Citizen Schools Massachusetts students from the Trotter Innovation School, East Somerville Community School and Orchard Gardens K-8 schools got the chance showcase all that they have learned and practiced in a Mock Trial at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.
For over a decade Citizen Schools has partnered with Discovering Justice to bring students this opportunity. Each year, the event starts with an opening reception with a keynote speech by local ‘celebrity’ or politician. This year was no different, students had the chance to hear from, Rachael Rollins - the first black woman elected to District Attorney for Suffolk County. Rollins started her speech by reminding students that “this is your building, I want you to know that you are welcomed here - you can come here anytime you want.”
The evening continued to be filled with awe and inspiration as parents, community members and visitors alike got a chance to watch students argue their case and defend their clients in front of real judges. Like watching Nisrine Feham, a 6th grader from The Trotter Innovation School make an opening case for why she believed her client in question is in fact guilty and did not have their rights violated or watching 7th grader, Mariaelena Suazo maintain her composure even after dropping her closing argument cue cards and losing her train of thought.
A special thanks to volunteer Citizen Teachers from WilmerHale, Mintz Levin, TripAdvisor, GE, and Jones Day, who worked with all our students over the course of the last 10 weeks to get them ready for this incredibly special day.
The evening concluded with mix and mingling and dinner for all guests. We look forward to next semester where students will have the opportunity to participate in Stand Up for Your Rights and argue an appeal to each of the cases we saw on Tuesday.