The 11th grade class of the Business and Law Academy at Crawford High School prepared months in advance to compete with 19 other high schools in this year’s mock trial competition hosted by the San Diego County Bar Association. As the students, CLIMB chaperones and Mr. Luttbeg, Crawford teacher of the academy, piled onto the bus, they all began the trip to the San Diego County Courthouse while chanting “I believe that we can succeed!” The students were excited to look so sharp in fresh business attire; for many of them, this was their first time wearing such clothes. Heads buried in their notes, trying to quiet the nerves with focus on the trial facts, possible motions and useful objections- the students were in the zone.
They were met at the courthouse by their two litigation attorney coaches, Amy Hoffman and Shereen Charlick, who have dedicated as many months as the students, preparing them to be ready for anything in the courtroom. The three-day competition was held at the county courthouse, where the students conducted their trials in real court rooms. The students were divided into prosecution and defense teams where they were presented with current teen criminal issues. These students impressed the adults with their astounding skills in applying proper courtroom etiquette, appropriate objections and knowing the facts of their case inside and out. As the trial proceeded, the confidence of each student beamed within the courtroom, making them very stiff competition for the opposing teams.
At the end of the two hour long mock trial, the students received many compliments on their professionalism, respect to their opposing teammates, knowledge of the law and presence in the courtroom by attorney judges. With smiles stretching from ear to ear, the students left the room commenting on their favorite moments of the trial and suggesting constructive criticisms for the next round, wanting to do even better.
The 11th grade Crawford High students were not just participating in the mock trial, they owned it. The months of preparation were evident to the spectators, judges and opposing team, and they were a threat to reckon with. For most of these students, they would have never imagined to be participating in such a rigorous competition, let alone be a coveted competitor. Their effort and belief in themselves was possible by Mr. Luttbeg, who is a retired San Diego attorney well known within the community; the attorney coaches, who have truly become an integral piece in these students’ journeys; and, the CLIMB mentors, who are Thomas Jefferson students who lead class discussions and lessons every week at Crawford High School and chaperone for school events like the mock trial competition.
If you are looking to empower high school students, and truly make a difference in their lives today and in their future, come to CLIMB’s information meeting on March 13th, at 12 pm in Room 325.
CLIMB, or the Crawford Law Institute & Mentorship Bond, is a program created to mentor high school students within the Business and Law Academy at Crawford High School. CLIMB connects with these students through various programs such as the PALS program, speaker series and culture nights, hosted at Thomas Jefferson. The Culture Night program is organized by CLIMB members whose goals are to expose the students to a certain subject matter that generally would not be available to them within their school curriculum. In the past, the subjects have been, “Spoken Word,” “Exercise and Healthy Living” and “Mass Media and Politics.” , CLIMB will be hosting a Culture Night on “Expression of the Arts,” on March 14 at TJSL in Room 325 from 4:15-5:30 pm. All Thomas Jefferson students are welcome to attend as well as Crawford High School students.