The Grundy County Youth Leadership program is in full swing again, thanks to a grant awarded to the program by the Community Fund of the South Cumberland Plateau in addition to private donors. A few years ago, teacher and sponsor Jessica Lusk applied for a grant from CFSSP and was awarded seed money for the re-instatement of the program that targets sophomores and juniors at Grundy County High School.
Grundy County Youth Leadership helps to build leadership skills in student participants. The program is designed to advance participants’ knowledge in many topics including recognizing the natural beauty in Grundy County, improving team-building skills, informing students on the workings of state and local government and the judicial system, teaching financial responsibility, and enhancing personal leadership skills.
A mock trial was held, with class members playing jurors, witnesses, and the defendant.
“The students were very serious about the parts that they played in the mock trial. They seemed to put themselves in the position of a real live situation,” stated Gayle VanHooser, coordinator of the event.
Many individuals donated time to make the event a success. Local attorney Roger Layne, of Davis, Kessler and Davis in Winchester, served as the defense attorney in the mock trial. Grundy County General Sessions Judge Trey Anderson volunteered his time to serve as the district attorney, and Tori Floyd served as Judge.
Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum took time out to participate in the event by staging the mock arrest and booking procedures. Shrum did a wonderful job putting the students in a real life scenario, also leading the group on a brief tour of the jail and the facilities.
State Trooper Sam Johnson volunteered his time to be a witness for the state.
“A class like this is a great learning tool. It was actually the brainchild of a former youth leadership student who stated that if they could put themselves into the role of a court situation, they would learn more than just being talked to about the consequences of making bad choices. The mock trial has been a successful learning tool for the students,” stated VanHooser.
“We are so thankful for the cooperation and support of each of the participating individuals. It is amazing that all these very busy people could take time out of their day, to give our students a realistic view of our judicial system,” said Lusk. “We could not have accomplished such an outstanding learning experience for these students without the support of The Community Fund of the South Cumberland Plateau, and all of our annual contributors from various businesses, county officials, and individuals that donate annually to allow us to continue this amazing program.”