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Middle School Students “Give” Their All at Annual Mock Trial Showcase

COLUMBUS (April 16, 2024) - Over 400 Ohio middle school students will bring a popular middle grade book to life at the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s (OCLRE) annual Middle School Mock Trial Showcase on April 19, May 3 and May 17 at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.


OCLRE middle school mock trials are crafted from literature commonly taught in middle school classrooms.  This year’s case is based on Lois Lowry’s classic, The Giver. The 2024 State Showcase piece is set in a dystopian fictional community where uniformity and sameness are the norm.  Defendant Jonas is becoming the community’s Receiver of Memory, an elder who holds all memories of the time before sameness. Jonas learns about pain, fear and emotions that are no longer experienced by members of the Community. With his newfound knowledge, he decides to save a young child from community “release”, or certain death, and flees to the nearby town of Elsewhere. As a result, the town of Elsewhere has charged Jonas with kidnapping and child endangerment.   


With the help of teachers and attorneys, students learn about the legal system and develop reading, research, writing and public speaking skills.  Students must consider both sides of the case, as they will argue both prosecution and defense before a panel of volunteers who evaluate their performance.


Teams from the following schools will participate in the state showcase: Belpre Middle School (Washington County), Bethany School (Hamilton County), Chagrin Falls Middle School (Cuyahoga County), Columbus City Schools Gifted & Talented (Franklin County), Columbus Gifted Academy (Franklin County), Cornerstone Academy (Franklin County), Danville Middle School (Knox County), Garfield Middle School (Cuyahoga County), Genoa Middle School (Delaware County), Harding Middle School (Cuyahoga County), Heritage Middle School – Westerville (Delaware County), Independence Middle School (Cuyahoga County), Indian Hill Middle School (Hamilton County), Jackson Memorial Middle School (Stark County), Kenston High School (Geauga County), Langston Middle School (Lorain County), Lebanon Christian Middle School (Warren County), Menlo Park Academy (Cuyahoga County), Notre Dame Middle School (Geauga County), Otsego Middle School (Wood County), Perrysburg Junior High School (Wood County), Phoenix Classical Co-op (Geauga County), Reading Community Middle School (Hamilton County), Seton Catholic School (Summit County), Shaker Heights Middle School (Cuyahoga County), St. Hilary School (Summit County), St. Matthew the Apostle (Franklin County), Walnut Hills Middle School (Hamilton County), Walnut Springs Middle School (Franklin County) and Wheelersburg Middle School (Scioto County). 


OCLRE is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to improve society by developing citizens empowered with an understanding of our democratic system.  OCLRE is sponsored by the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio Attorney General, Ohio State Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation.  Middle School Mock Trial is funded, in part, by the Ohio State Bar Foundation.  For more information, please visit



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