Some future lawyers may one day thank Juanita Sanders for sparking their early interest in the law.
Sanders, a teacher and Beta Club and student government sponsor at Fort Mill's Springfield Middle School, recently was honored as the 2008 Law Related Education Middle School Teacher of the Year. The award, given by the S.C. Bar, comes with a $1,000 cash prize. Sanders is the third teacher to win the award since it was created in 2005.
The award stems largely from her work with the Springfield mock trial team, which won a state championship this year. She had worked for several years with the mock trial team at Fort Mill's Gold Hill Middle School before moving to Springfield, which opened two years ago.
"What set her apart was that she worked with the mock trial team at Gold Hill Middle School, and then she started the Springfield Mock Trial team from scratch," Bar spokeswoman Elizabeth Martin said. "No one else had done that."
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Sanders said she tries to give students a realistic view of the way the U.S. legal system works. She hopes it will lead them to become critical thinkers and not always accept what they are told at face value.
Those are good lessons under any circumstances. We salute Sanders for this prestigious honor and hope she continues to inspire students to analyze what they are told and, perhaps, look to a future in the legal profession.