“Yes, your honor. May I approach?” asked Sarah Osorio before she approached the jury.
Osorio is just one of 140 students at and 150 students at to participate in the Citizen Schools program, a non-profit that introduces career paths to middle schoolers in low-income communities through apprenticeships with various professionals in industries like journalism or computer science.
This group of students took an interest in law and was able to work with local law firms and the legal teams from Google and HP. After 10 weeks, the students were able to argue a case in front of a real juror and judge at the Redwood City courthouse.
“What better way to bring literacy to life than by trying it in a real legal case?” said Citizen Schools Executive Director of the California branch, Joe Ross.
He said the transformation in the students after the program is remarkable.
Many of the students are English Language Learners who had never spoken in public before. In their final “Wow!” performance, in this case a mock trial, students confidently presented their cases to real judges.
Judge Stephen Hall swore in the students before they proceeded to their courtrooms.
“The only thing holding you back is yourself,” Hall said. “If you can dream it, you can live it.”