Valley middle school students have mock trial in Harrisonburg

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Local middle school students in Rockingham County got a hands-on experience of what it's like to be a lawyer or attorney in a court room.

This was the second annual Discovering Justice Mock Trial. It's put on by 'On The Road Collaborative,' a local non-profit working with middle school youth on the road to college and careers.

On Tuesday night, more than ten middle school students took to the Rockingham County Circuit Courthouse, to argue both sides of a case.

With families looking on, along with witnesses and a real judge and jury, things felt real.

Robert Wilson, with On The Road Collaborative, said the mock trial isn't the only program they do.

"They also had stuff having to do with cooking, law enforcement, computers, web design, all different types of careers," said Wilson.

Students spent 10 weeks in the program learning all aspects of the courtroom. Those who participated said it's leading them in the right direction.

"I think it gives me more of an experience of what it would be to be an attorney later on in the future," said Mikey Paniagua, one of the students who participated.

Auroa Lindstrom was another student who participated. She said it was a really great experience.

"I'm just excited and happy. And even though my side didn't win, I'm still happy for the other people and it was just a really great experience," said Lindstrom.

The collaborative programs are only held at Skyline Middle School right now, but Wilson said they want to expand.

"We want to branch out from Skyline Middle School and begin providing after-school programs in other schools in the Harrisonburg public school system," Wilson.

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