Mock trial returns to Gallia Academy


By Sharla Moody - Special to OVP



For the first time in over a decade, juniors and seniors at Gallia Academy High School, pictured alongside mentors in the program, are participating in mock trial competitions.

For the first time in over a decade, juniors and seniors at Gallia Academy High School, pictured alongside mentors in the program, are participating in mock trial competitions.


Aaron Walker | Courtesy

GALLIPOLIS — Students at Gallia Academy High School are going to court this week — but not for any real crime committed.

For the first time in over a decade, juniors and seniors at the high school will be participating in mock trial competitions. In Ohio, the mock trial program for high school students in Ohio organized by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE).

“Mock trial is embedded in AP (advanced placement) English classes,” Aaron Walker, who teaches AP English classes at Gallia Academy, said. This is done to increase the rigor of the classes themselves and also allow for more teams and more practices for mock trial, he explained.

Mock trial is an extremely rigorous academic experience, requiring students to hone their writing, public speaking skills, memorization, and analytical skills to best strategize a case and perform. On top of the academic rigor, the program also requires that students put in a good deal of time.

“Mock trial has definitely been an experience,” Carter Harris, a junior at Gallia Academy, said. “It has helped me in many different ways such as developing critical thinking skills and thinking on the fly.”

Students agree that mock trial has been challenging in many ways, but that they are learning a great deal. “It’s a lot of hours put in each week, both in and out of practice,” senior Madison Loveday said, but added that “Public speaking, information-gathering, and persuasion are all skills we have gained in this process.”

Junior Emma Mayes said that “knowing that every trial, speech, testimony will be different and changing” is the most challenging part of participating in mock trial.

Senior William Hendrickson noted that mock trial “has put me out of my comfort zone,” but that he is “learning better public speaking skills, and I’m learning a trial inside and out.”

Jenna Wallow, a senior at Gallia Academy, said, “Mock trial has been an absolute roller coaster, more ups than downs, though. Mock trial is definitely a valuable experience. So many life skills are applicable to the trial. Analytical skills and social skills are extremely important and this program really helps to strengthen these. Time management skills are extremely important in your life and this program has by far made me push myself to improve.”

Senior Wilton Long said that the most valuable knowledge he’s taken away from participating in mock trial is “learning communication, because knowledge is nothing if you can’t pass it on.”

“I’m really surprised by how much I’ve been able to push myself,” Brionna Davies, a junior, said. “I’ve learned to be more confident with what I have to say and being able to back it up. It has also helped with being able to work with others…”

In addition to students, teachers at Gallia Academy and lawyers and legal officials in Gallia County have assisted Walker with reviving the school’s mock trial program, including Brynn Noe, Megan Lawhon, and Gallia County Prosecutor Jason Holdren.

Mock trials are judged by actual judges and legal officials in the state of Ohio. This year, three teams of 41 Gallia Academy AP English students are competing virtually against other schools in Ohio because of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday and Friday.

© 2022, Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

For the first time in over a decade, juniors and seniors at Gallia Academy High School, pictured alongside mentors in the program, are participating in mock trial competitions.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2022/01/web1_1.14-Mock.jpgFor the first time in over a decade, juniors and seniors at Gallia Academy High School, pictured alongside mentors in the program, are participating in mock trial competitions. Aaron Walker | Courtesy

By Sharla Moody

Special to OVP

Sharla Moody is a graduate of River Valley High School and is currently attending Yale University.

Sharla Moody is a graduate of River Valley High School and is currently attending Yale University.