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Merrimack Valley

March 20, 2013

Students learn about court system in mock trial program


“As a judge who does this every day, I see you have done an incredible job,” he said.

Newman was just as proud of the students who participated in the mock trial in his courtroom.

“I think they were exceptionally attentive. The depth of their knowledge of the law was inspiring. It was awesome; each of them were so focused and seemed to enjoy the procedure,” Newman said.

This is the second year students in Nicole Pellerin’s class have participated in the mock trial and the first time for students at Arlington School.

In addition to the classroom learning, Arlington School students visited the courthouse and met with Newman. He told the students he was inspired to go into law after watching the Perry Mason show which aired on television from 1957-1966. Newman even showed them old shows.

“I wanted them to feel comfortable. They are anxious about participating in something new,” the judge said.

Arlington School teacher Jack Salvetti said students learned more than just civics, law and the judicial system.

“They also incorporated their reading, English, critical thinking and personal speaking skills in the process,” he said.

“I feel a sense of accomplishment because the students learn from day one until the last day,” said Pellerin. “It was really enlightening to see the final product.”

Participation was made possible by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers of the U.S. Dept. of Education.

“I’m most proud of their dedication to the program,” Kathleen McDonough of the 21st Century program said of the children. “Being in the program is a learning experience to gain faith and confidence in themselves.”

The 21st Century Centers provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools., and helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects and offers enrichment activities that can complement regular academic programs.

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