by Ryan Heaton and Sam Cohen, PWHS Class of 2018
The Plymouth Whitemarsh Mock Trial Club hosted their inaugural summer camp at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School for students entering grades 6-9. At camp, students could utilize their free summer time in order to remain mentally active and, hopefully, learn something new. Mock Trial is an educational club where students act as lawyers and witnesses in court to compete against opposing schools. Through the experience in competing in trial, these students are able to increase their knowledge in the justice system that extends beyond the Hollywood portrayal.
At the camp, members of the high school club were counselors to teach the campers about the law specifically through the process of a "Mock Trial."
Making real world connections
Each day, the camp featured a local attorney to speak to campers about their profession. They shared stories of their experiences, tips for future attorneys and information about the legal system. Through the guest speaker's appearances, the campers were given the opportunity to investigate new methods of learning.
One such speaker, Mr. Rob MacMahon, a local defense litigation attorney, found, "I was extremely impressed by the interest shown by all the kids. They asked intelligent questions, too." Mr. MacMahon spoke to the campers about the specifics of Civil Law as an attorney in addition some stories from his career.
Learning about law and developing other skills
The campers were exposed to new concepts and ways of thinking. Eighth grade student Angelina Patel stated, "[It was a] great experience for learning about being a lawyer and law and most things teachers don't teach you. Fun time!"
While the camp specifically focused on Mock Trial, the kids learned skills that extend far beyond just fields of law. For example, students can improve their public speaking skills (through opening and closing statements), their improvisation (requiring lawyers to think on their feet in court) and observational skills (looking for important details as they prepared for their trial). Eighth grade student, Ava Suarez, said, "Mock Trial camp was an informative and enjoyable experience. I would recommend the camp for anyone whether they are interested in law or not."
The camp also included fun activities for the students to participate in each day to keep the learning experience entertaining and exciting. Seventh grade student, Bryan Prieto, highlights the enjoyment of the camp by describing it in more modern terms, "This camp is lit and helpful!"