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Verdict is in: mock trial adviser earns state award  

Caledonia — Caledonia High School social studies teacher Jenny Jonkman was recently named Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Center for Civic Education.

The organization’s highest form of recognition, the award celebrates Michigan educators’ commitment to civic and law-related education.

Caledonia High School social studies teacher and mock trial adviser Jenny Jonkman receiving the Michigan Center for Civic Education’s Teacher of the Year Award (courtesy)

Jonkman said she was surprised and humbled to receive the award. 

Passionate about teaching “Intro to Mock Trial” and “Trial Techniques and Foundations of Law” at CHS, Jonkman also coaches students to compete in mock trial competitions, hosted by the Michigan Center for Civic Education and the State Bar of Michigan.

“Mock trials are exciting activities to teach content, appreciation of our adversarial judicial system and inspire students to think critically and creatively about the law,” she said.

This year, CHS sent four mock trial teams to compete at regional competitions, the most ever from the district and more than any other school in the state, Jonkman said.

One team recently traveled to Lansing to compete against 12 other Michigan teams for the state championship at Veterans Memorial Courthouse in Lansing. They made it to the state semifinal round and finished in the Top Four after a long day of fierce competition. 

Read more from Caledonia: 
Mock trial team excels at state finals
Early literacy efforts pay off for elementary school

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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