Breckenridge Texan

Area homeschool students participate in mock trial at Stephens County Courthouse

Area homeschool students participate in mock trial at Stephens County Courthouse
April 26
07:23 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Most Saturdays, the Stephens County Courthouse is dark and quiet, but this past Saturday morning, it was bustling with activity as a group of local students competed against kids from Wichita Falls in a mock trial contest. Family and friends filled the gallery to watch the procedure.

Breckenridge and Graham students prepare their defense arguments during a mock trial at the Stephens County Courthouse on Saturday. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Held in the District Courtroom on the second floor with County Judge Michael Roach presiding, the fictional trial is part of the Classical Conversations Challenge B program. Classical Conversations offers homeschool families a variety of programs.

The competition featured students in the Challenge B Communities of Wichita Falls and Breckenridge/ Graham.

The mock trial features the fictional criminal trial of Commonwealth v. Zillias, in which a real estate developer has been charged with homicide in the deaths of two people at a construction site following the collapse of a crane.

The contest is organized so that one team of students portrays the prosecution and the other is the defense team. After the conclusion the trial (Round 1), the trial is repeated with the two teams switching places and portraying the opposite roles (Round 2). A group of adults serve as the jurors. At the conclusion of both rounds, the scores are tallied.

On Saturday, the Breckenridge/Graham team was announced as the winner of the competition.

Before the mock trial got underway, Roach talked to the students and those in attendance about the history of the Stephens County Courthouse and about the differences between civil and criminal trials. He also discussed some basic courtroom procedures with the students.

The participants in Saturday’s event were:

  • Breckenridge/Graham team — Grace Biebighauser, Gracie Buse, Liam Gilcrease, Emmalee Griffith and Rebekah Moreno
  • Wichita Falls team — Sydney Carian, Isaac Haro, Keaton LaRocque, Abigail Mollenkopf, Ezra Nyberg, Kate Swiger and Gray Walker
  • Jurors — Daniel Bertrand, Dave Clark, David Everett, Scott Gabriel, Debbie Hill, Elaine Matamoros and Kathryn Piegat
  • Judge — Michael Roach
  • Challenge B Directors — Erin Griffith, Breckenridge/Graham, and Sarah Mollenkopf, Wichita Falls
  • Administrator — Jamie Buse, Classical Conversations Support Representative

Click here to see more photos from the mock trial in the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.

Stephens County Judge Michael Roach talks to the students participating in the mock trial on Saturday morning about the history of the courthouse and the U.S. justice system. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: The defense questions a witness during the mock trial at the Stephens County Courthouse on Saturday morning. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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