Perhaps the most important mission of a school system is to prepare its students for the future. By objective measures such as the Maryland Report Card, graduation rates, and standardized tests, Carroll County Public Schools seems to be doing that. And we’ve seen recently that some of the most important learning occurs outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Plenty of, ahem, evidence of that was on display at the recent Mock Trial Competition. In the county final, Westminster High School represented the state and Liberty High the defense in a rematch of last year’s finale. Westminster earned the judgment this time around. There were tough cross-examinations and shrewd objections. The arguments from both sides were persuasive, said those in the courtroom, showing definitively that not all high school kids have seen their oral communication skills eroded by smartphone reliance.


“I forget they are high school students, because they have begun to think like trial lawyers,” Cara Frieman, a senior assistant state’s attorney with the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office, told us. Circuit Court Judge Fred Hecker concurred: “I had to keep reminding myself they were not actual experts and that they were high school students.”

Perhaps some of those involved with the Mock Trial Competition will go into the field of law. Westminster Junior Laniya Davidson said she had never contemplated being a lawyer but that after doing this, “it’s definitely something I am considering.”

And who knows what the future holds for the many Carroll students who have been doing so well in recent robotics competitions. One such team, South Carroll High School’s RoboCavs Gold Team, is headed for the FIRST Robotics FTC World Championship in Detroit the week of April 24 after placing second at the state competition on March 3. RoboCavs Gold is the first robotics team from this county to qualify for the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) World Championship.

To compete against teams from all over the world is a huge honor for the RoboCavs, their faculty adviser, Sean Lee, told us. In preparation for the qualifiers, the club met after school daily for two hours, with two teams qualifying for states. Mat Erickson, a senior who has been a member of the club for four years, said participation has shaped his future. “I’ve always had an interest in technical things, computers and programming ant things like that,” he told us, noting that “next year, I will go to University of Maryland College Park to study electrical engineering. My decision was definitely influenced by the club.” Club founder Tom Lee said in the club’s first six years of existence, 43 of its graduates either are in college, or have graduated college, studying engineering or science.

Alongside the potential future barristers and engineers, let us not forget the artists, particularly given that this is Youth Art Month. Middle and elementary school students’ work is on display at the Carroll Arts Center during gallery hours through March 26 while high school students’ work can be viewed at Carroll Community College in the Langdon Family Gallery until March 30.

It’s exciting and a confidence boost for the kids to see their work celebrated. And, for some, it might be a light bulb moment that shapes the rest of their lives. Century High School art teacher, Frank Reaver, for example, told us he remembers his own Youth Art Month experience when he was a student at Westminster High. Needless to say, it’s a positive memory.

Regardless of what field these students pursue, learning to make strong arguments, enhancing one’s technical skills and cultivating creativity can only help.