Photo/Reba Saldanha  Discovering Justice Mock Trials December 10, 2019

Mock Trial Program Concludes with 12 Virtual Trials

Presenting in front of federal and state judges, middle school students from Discovering Justice’s Mock Trial Program questioned witnesses and delivered detailed opening and closing arguments in cases concerning free speech and the First Amendment. The trials, held before juries of public officials, legal professionals, and local residents, culminated an 11-week program during which students met with legal mentors who taught the students the workings of the justice system, discussed the ideals of justice, and prepared them for their trials.

Last fall’s program was done virtually, a challenge for the more than 130 students and 60 legal mentors who participated in the program.. “It was a pleasure to watch teams grow a sense of comradery despite never meeting in person. This teamwork allowed them to build important civic knowledge and skills,” said Luke Matys, the coordinator of the Mock Trial Program.

More than 450 people attended the twelve trials which showcased students from middle schools in Boston, Lowell, Waltham, and Somerville. 

“Iti is so different from school. It’s a refreshing change from everything that is happening. . If you were ever wondering that you may want to be a lawyer — just try it.There will never be a more supportive group.”commented Abbie Roskind, an 8th grader from McDevitt Middle School in Waltham.

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You Came Back to School to Strengthen Our Democracy And We Are Grateful

We weren’t sure that you’d come or if you did, that you would stay. But you came and you stayed! 

More than 200 guests were in virtual attendance on October 15th at Discovering Justice’s 2020 Gala: Back to School; Strengthening our Democracy. Attendees got to hear from students, teachers, lawyers and staff about how the organization is updating and strengthening its programs during the pandemic. After seven months of COVID isolation, seeing all of the faces and reading the comments in the Zoom chat reminded us of why we do our work and how much we appreciate and miss in the Discovering Justice community. 

Thank you to all who attended and helped make Discovering Justice’s Fall Virtual Gala a great success. Your support and participation are what make our programs successful. If you were unable to attend, it’s not too late to experience the magic of the evening. 

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Discovering Justice’s Online Courthouse Tour To Launch in 2021

Discovering Justice staff and Fellows are working to digitally reopen the doors of the Moakley Federal Courthouse through a new digital exhibition exploring the architectural symbols of democratic values found throughout the Courthouse in Boston. 

The Courthouse Tours are Discovering Justice’s longest-running program, but due to restrictions around COVID -19, we’ve had to get creative about how to share this civic space with members of our community. The upcoming tour exhibition “We the People of the Courthouse” will explore the connections between different spaces in the Moakley Courthouse, and the civic ideals they represent. 

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Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.