HENDERSON — Prairie View High School students argued the pros and cons of the death penalty in front of a mock supreme court Nov. 15 as part of Janet Wyatt’s criminal justice class.
Juniors and seniors from the class were randomly selected and split into two teams: one supporting the death penalty and one opposed to the death penalty.
Students presented opening statements, evidence as well as closing arguments to a “supreme court” comprised primarily of school officials and board of education members.
Wyatt said in some instances, students had the opposite opinions than the side of the case they were representing and that overall the students did well.
“The effort that they put in outside of class definitely showed though in their presentation. Truth be told, very little time was spent in class working on this,” she said, adding that about 95 percent of the work was completed out side of class. “They took it very seriously and I think that was evident.”
Junior Jacob Rohlfs said he thought the mock trial was fun as well as informative.
“It gave me a lot of facts I didn’t know about the death penalty,” he said. “A little competition is good for everyone.”
Senior Kyle Giacomino, who would like to go into the field of law, also thought the trial was fun.
“It was a very good experience to have, especially, because it’s kind of outside the classroom and gives us experience for the real world; for some of us who want to be lawyers anyway,” he said.
Senior Mattie Becker was proud of everyone for putting all the work into the project that they did and senior Sasha Dierdorff liked the interactive learning and thought having the mock trial gave them more motivation to really put time and effort into it.
Wyatt said the class is a Front Range Community College class offered under the concurrent enrollment program where students receive both high school and college credit.
Because it’s her second time teaching the class and because there were more students in the class, Wyatt said they upped the ante a little bit with a bigger audience this time around. She said she was really proud of the kids and their effort and was very appreciative the individuals on the “supreme court” were able to give up their time.
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