O’Maley students go on trial


Jenna Taormina

O’Maley eighth graders perform a mock trial for students, parents and staff

JENNA TAORMINA, Staff Writer, Editor

Creativity at O’Maley Innovation Middle School has reached new heights as eighth grade classes acted in a mock trial for more than one hundred parents, students, and staff members last week.

Based on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Jones, played by eighth grader Jack Vieria, was placed on “trial” for murder in the second degree of Arthur Giant and grand larceny.

Performing Arts teacher Jessica Linquata designed the project. One of her classes played the prosecution, and another one played the defense.

“They made up every single thing,” said Linquata. “The only things rehearsed were the lawyers questions and the opening statements. It’s not easy to come up with on the spot questions in a case,  and it was all done in real time.”

All roles  were played by students except for the jury, which consisted of a mix between teachers and students.

“I think it was a fun and different way to have performing arts class and learn,” said eighth grader Ella De Gaspe Beaubien, who acted as a defense attorney for Jack. “It was a really fun and cool idea that she came up with and let us try out.”

The auditorium, turned courtroom, consisted everything one would see in a real courtroom. Complete with a bailiff, who swore in all witnesses before questioning, to stenographers, to a judge, played by Linquata.

Before students could come up with the trial, they had to learn how a court works and all of it’s various parts. According to Linquata extensive research went into the production.

Not only did students spend more than a month preparing and solidifying their cases, but Ms. Linquata also brought in separate sound equipment from the one already installed in the auditorium to allow all students to be heard.

In the end, Jack was found guilty for intentional homicide in the second degree of Arthur Giant, but was acquitted on his charge of grand larceny.

Linquata hopes that the project will show students that performing arts is not just Shakespeare and that it can connect to their other subjects, such as English Language Arts and Social Studies. She also hopes that it will help students with the self confidence.

“I think kids today have a really hard time with being creative,” said Ms. Linquata. “I’m hoping this gives them a self confidence boost.”

She is also happy to share this experience with parents.

“Parents always ask me is there any way to come and see their kids, so I’m happy to give them some opportunity,” said Linquata. “It was so much work but it was worth it. They’re doing pretty great things”