Joseph Kelley hosts mock trial for elementary students

Miami Times staff report | 6/5/2014, 9 a.m.

Vice Mayor, Joseph L. Kelley recently hosted a mock trial, sponsored by the City of Opa-locka Mayor and Commission, for children from Robert B. Ingram and Nathan B. Young Elementary schools. The event was designed to help the students understand the functions of government, specifically at the local level. Selected students took on the role of elected officials such as the mayor, vice mayor, commissioners, city manager, and

city clerk. Moreover, their peers assumed the role of the constituency. The debate topics ranged from the days and hours of park operation to whether minors should be obligated to perform community service. The students acquired experiential knowledge of the hierarchical structure of government, as well as the necessity for various official positions. The participants also gained a rudimentary understanding of essential procedures and formalities of the legislative process. Towards the end of the event, students were asked their opinions about making crucial legislative decisions, and the general consensus was that it was not as easy as they had imagined. Ultimately, the students discovered that well-intentioned ideas often conflict with unforeseen obstacles such as insufficient funds. Such obstacles reinforced the importance of creativity, cooperation, and impartiality; fundamental elements of an efficient government.

Proud to have hosted the Mock Trial for the ninth year, Vice Mayor Kelley stated that his goal is “to inspire our youth to explore career options while engaging in or committing to public service, beginning at a very early age.”