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The only all Boys School in Broward County is set to have A Mock Trial in the New Broward County Courtroom On October 10, 2018

By Alton Bolden

      Downtown Fort Lauderdale, (October 10, 2018) Piney Grove Boys Academy will be sending the entire school along with some volunteers to re-enact a court case detailing a crime that was committed in Texas.  The students will act as the lawyers for both sides, students will get a chance to be the jury, and there will be a real judge presiding over this case.  The students range in grade from 6th through 12th grade and they are members of the school’s debate team.  These students are being trained by Judges and Lawyers from the Public Defender’s office.  Gordon Weeks has partnered with Piney Grove to help bring this experience to life for these students by sending over the case to study along with experienced lawyers to help.

Students enrolled in Piney Grove Boys Academy are students from the Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Tamarac and Sunrise Communities.  Piney Grove is an inner-city school offering a Private Prep Education for a minimal fee. Most of these students are from a single-family home with hopes and dreams of making it big one day.  The school does its best to expose the students to different careers and opportunities such as this mock trial experience.  Based on Principal Alton Bolden’s observations he stated, “A lot of my students have friends and family members that have been on the wrong side of the law or have seen an abundance of injustice but with this program we are giving them a voice and an opportunity to change the narrative on their life story.” “We want every student to know that they don’t have to sell drugs, rap, or be an athlete to be successful, all they have to do is study and be disciplined enough to stay focused and good things will follow.”

This opportunity comes with a cost. Each student must sacrifice 2 days a week after school to study, read the case files, and meet with his team and coach to prepare for trial.  The students learn how to work cooperatively, how to sort through lies, and how to argue a point with facts without becoming physical towards one another. In addition, the students learn how to support one another and how to speak in front of large crowds.  Teaching kids how to debate and have adult conversations is important for moving ahead in life and a career.  These skills that are being learned now will develop their character and give them the courage to speak up even when no one else will.  More programs like this need to be implemented into schools.  The Principal has reached out to other schools with debate teams and has discussed having mock trial competitions.  Inspiring the next Thurgood Marshall or Johnny Cochran just by asking a student to be apart of the team.

The mock trial is one of the 13 pillars that his students go through every year in order to complete the Rites of Passage.  The Rites of Passage is something Piney Grove has done over the past 4 years which helps students get the mental nurturing they need to become successful men.  There are several programs for girls to get advice and guidance but not enough geared towards boys.  The Rites of Passage at Piney Grove includes: African American History, Economics, Politics, Family Responsibility, Career Development, Spirituality, Community Involvement, Physical Development, Home Care, Auto Care, Women Rights, and Sex Education.

For more information, or interested in volunteering or assisting in any of these programs please contact the school office (954) 735-1470, visit the websites:  www.pineygroveacademy.org , Facebook www.facebook.com/pgba.pineygroveboys, or visit the school’s campus: 4699 West Oakland Park Blvd, Lauderdale Lakes, FL, 33313.

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