Shown here with Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn are eighth-grade students from local Classical Conversations communities.

COVINGTON A team of eighth-grade home-schooled students from Newton and Walton counties recently competed in a Mock Trial at the Newton County Judicial Center as part of local Classical Conversations communities in Covington and the Bethlehem-Winder area.

Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn presided and three local attorneys, Mark Yun, from the Public Defender’s Office, Mandisa Styles, law clerk for Ozburn, and Anusay Yasin, assistant district attorney, served as jurors along with several parent volunteers. Kelly Fryer served as the court reporter. Students played roles as attorneys and witnesses for the prosecution and the defense.

The students were given a criminal case that was originally used in the 1990 Georgia and South Carolina State Competitions. Students studied the case for several weeks, discussing the specifics and strategy during their weekly community day. As a team, the students decided on the most effective way to present their case and performed it for their parents, friends, jury and a judge.

Mock trial allows students to have an authentic experience studying the judicial process, while helping them develop critical thinking, public speaking, persuasive presentation and argumentation skills, which are invaluable life skills.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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