Spotlight on Dreams
Law Day for St. Clair Evans
Fifth grade students from St.
Clair Evans Academy experienced a real world,
experiential lesson in law through participation with
D.W. Perkins Bar Association’s Law Day event. Law Day
was created when Therese Burgess, St. Clair Evans
Principal Ashton Price’s assistant and the mother of a
student in Wolfson High School’s law program, met D.W.
Perkins Bar Association Attorney Sharletta Roberts. The
two women started talking, and before they knew it, the
Law Day concept was born.
Burgess and Roberts worked
closely with the students; their teachers (Tammy
Haywood, Stephanie Washington and Napolean Williams);
St. Clair Evans Principal Ashton Price; and staff and
law program students at Wolfson High School to
coordinate the event. The women wanted to provide a fun
and interactive experience for the students, so they
could gain knowledge of the judicial process.
Many months of preparation
went into planning Law Day, which culminated with a mock
trial at Wolfson High School with the Honorable Judge
Pauline Drayton presiding. The students participated in
every step of the process from planning to
implementation. Every student had a role to play from
prosecuting and defense attorney to plaintiff and
defendant. The jury was made up of a mixture of St.
Clair Evans fifth grade students and students from
Wolfson High School’s law program.
The students presented the
case of Humpty Dumpty versus Sherman King, which was
based upon the character of Humpty Dumpty who was hired
by Sherman King, an automobile dealership owner, to make
a special appearance for a July 4th sale. Well, Humpty
Dumpty fell off of a wall during his appearance at
King’s dealership and was injured. The plaintiff (Humpty
Dumpty) was suing the defendant (Sherman King) for
Before starting the mock
trial, Judge Drayton prepared the students by talking to
them to put their minds at ease. Judge Drayton
encouraged the students to “have fun!” She continued to
say, “If you forget something, don’t worry about it.
Real attorneys forget things, too.”
The students began the mock
trial and did a fabulous job. They all played their
parts well with opening statements, objections, witness
interviews, etc. When the jury was dismissed from the
courtroom to deliberate, Judge Drayton explained the
deliberation process to the remaining students and
started a dialogue with them about the case, as if they
were on the jury. She informed the students that judges
do not decide the facts. Judges know and describe the
law. The jury members are who listens to both sides of
the argument and decides with whom to side based on the
facts presented during the trial.
When the jury was finished deliberating, the
student jurors returned to the courtroom to pass down a
verdict of not guilty. Sherman King was found not guilty
of negligence in the case of Humpty Dumpty versus
Sherman King. And, the students received a valuable and
hands-on lesson about our justice system in the process.