St. John’s Academy students in grades 7 and 8 appeared in Courtroom 264 in late March with the Honorable Judge Charles Tinlin presiding.

They were playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses in the school’s version of Mock Trial, an intense competition conducted each year in conjunction with the Florida Bar.

Organizers said the purpose of the trial was to “to stimulate and encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of the American legal system by providing students the opportunity to participate actively in the legal process.”

The students prepared witness testimony, delivered opening and closing arguments for the plaintiff and the defense, and conducted both direct and cross examinations of witnesses as part of their writing class. Attorneys Malcolm Anthony, Michael Hines and Matt Mercer scored the teams.

The winning team, by only a six-point margin, was the Plaintiff led by attorneys Ashley Rot and Angelina McAdams. Witnesses for the Plaintiff were McKenna Mitchell, Elizabeth Acevedo and Max Tittler and support team members Christian Smith, Isabella LaRussa and Tyler Waters. The opening statement for the plaintiff was delivered by Olivia Warrington and closing argument by Sydney Smith.

The Defense was led by attorneys Riley Reinhold and Gabe Nivens with witness roles played by Luke Lawrence, Grayson Kindig and Clint Griffin with support from team members Gracie Adams and Kate Lloyd. The opening statement was delivered by Tatum Torode and closing argument by Dillon Dixon.

Angelina McAdams was judged the best attorney and McKenna Mitchell, playing the role of the plaintiff was judged best witness.