If you were to visit one of five classrooms at the Sousa Elementary School, one of the four elementary schools in the Port Washington School District, on Friday, May 11, you may think for a moment that you were in federal district court or state supreme court. That’s because elementary school students were conducting mock trials as part of the Port Enrichment Program.
The students debated a scenario involving the parents of a young man who was injured suing the producers of a show, “Wildest, Wackiest, Craziest Teen Video Competition” for negligence for broadcasting a show that encourages students to performing reckless students.
Each of the students was thoroughly impressive. Whether they were playing the role of counsel or a witness, the students all presented themselves professionally and retained the facts of the case. Both the plaintiff and defense teams presented their cases clearly and persuasively.
Students gathered in groups so that there were five trials happening simultaneously with the students acting as counsel for the plaintiff, the defendants and witnesses on both sides. The following participated in the trials:
Sousa Plaintiff Team – Daisy, Carter, Emilia, August, Ben and Tara.
Manorhaven Defense Team – Ryan, Kyra, Victoria and Rachel.
Salem Plaintiff Team – Julianna, Chloe, Hugh, Hannah and Jacob.
Sousa Defense Team – Gaby, Ben, Brent, Hannah, Ethan and Melissa.
Guggenheim Plaintiff Team – Madeline, Adam, Ash, Hannah and Maya.
Sousa Defense Team – Ryan, Eddie, Chloe, Thomas, Veronica and Matthew.
Sousa Plaintiff Team – Zoe, Andrew, Jonas, Audri and Piper.
Guggenheim Defense Team – Sofia, Joseph, Ava, Noa and Joshua.
Manorhaven Plaintiff Team - Katherine, Brittany, Brett, Angelo, Max and Elizabeth.
Salem/Sousa Defense Team – Haley, Jake, Zachary, Jaren, Nick and Leah.
Of course, the trial wouldn’t be complete without the judges. State Senator Jack M. Martins, attorney Elizabeth Kase, Manorhaven Village Clerk/Treasurer Jonathan Fielding, attorney Jessica Mann Gutteridge and attorney Ondine Slone served as the judges, presiding over the trials.
Upon rendering a verdict in Trial #5, Senator Martins complimented each of the students for their poise, knowledge of the facts and presentation. “This is the second time I have asked to be a judge for this program and each time, it has been an honor. The manner in which the students handle themselves is impressive. They are poised, collected, speak well and make convincing arguments. It is a tribute to their parents and a testament to the excellent education taking place in Port Washington,” he said.