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Granville County Teen Court Places 1st at 2024 NC Teen Court Association Summit!

 

The 26th Annual Teen Court Statewide Mock Trial Summit Competition, hosted by the North Carolina Teen Court Association, took place in Concord, NC from April 19th to 21st. Granville County Teen Court's youth volunteers were among over 200 participants from across North Carolina, engaging in an educational weekend showcasing their skills and knowledge through mock trial competitions.


Seven dedicated student volunteers from Granville County represented the Teen Court, assuming roles such as attorneys, clerks, bailiffs, and defendants, competing against teams from various counties across the state. Representing Granville County in this year's event were: Defense Attorneys Cristina Portillo-Martinez and Jazlyn Usher, Prosecutors Joydan Johnson and Jermaine Puryear, Jr., Clerk of Court Iesha Landis, Bailiff Cassie Peele, and Defendant Caitlynne Horton.

 


These students dedicated weeks of diligent practice to perfecting their roles leading up to the competition. Amidst their regular schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and ongoing Teen Court responsibilities, they carved out time to come in for extra sessions on evenings, Saturday mornings, and even during school breaks to prepare thoroughly. Their perseverance paid off immensely as the team emerged victorious, claiming 1st place in the state competition! Additionally, two members received special recognition for their outstanding performance in the courtroom. Jazlyn Usher was honored with the title of "Best Attorney Courtroom A" in the Defense's trial, while Jermaine Puryear, Jr. received accolades as "Best Attorney for Courtroom B" in the Prosecution's trial, as well as the prestigious title of "Best Overall Prosecuting Attorney" across all courtroom trials.


Apart from the Mock Trial competition, the objectives for the three-day event encompassed several key goals: assembling volunteers from all Teen Courts across North Carolina; enhancing volunteer effectiveness in the courtroom; gaining practical experience through the Mock Trial Competition; fostering friendships; and exchanging information and experiences. On Friday night, youth engaged in a team-building workshop. Following a tense morning of mock trial competition, students were treated to much-needed stress relief and fun at the Great Wolf Lodge water park. On Saturday night, they enjoyed a Dinner Theater presentation titled, “The Douglas-Lincoln Debates, A One-Act Play and Discussion Event.” The play centered on the authentic and sometimes awkward humanity and vulnerability of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.


The final day concluded with a presentation by Glenn Smith, Executive Director of Life Connections of the Carolinas, Inc., where he discussed the significance of restorative justice and the advantages of diversion programs like Teen Court.

 

Following this presentation was the awards ceremony, a moment filled with excitement and celebration for Granville County.

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