Kelsey Mace is ready to pass final judgment.
Rehearsing diligently to become a judge at Historic Latta Plantation's upcoming Backcountry Circuit Court, Mace, a senior at West Mecklenburg High School, is eager to take on the role.
"We've been putting a lot of work into this," said Mace, West Meck's student body president and debate team co-captain. "We haven't done anything like this before. It's going to be one of the most exciting things we've done at school."
Scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 19, the Backcountry Circuit Court will re-enact three local historic court cases, including a pistol duel between two rival lawyers.
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One of the featured programs will be the Kid's Court, organized by members of Glenn Lowe's West Meck debate team, which will feature actors dressed in period costumes. During the interactive experience, courtroom actors will select children from the audience to sit as the jury, deliberate and return a verdict to Judge Mace.
The 1860s case involves a $54 dispute between two men, and "the kids get to choose who wins," said Mace.
Lowe said a recent full rehearsal at Latta went well.
Along with Mace, teammates Katie Hopkins, Harrison Brown, Maria Hernandez, Mohamad Konsouh, Allison Taylor, Jamie Tadlock, Cierra Caldwell and Aaron Cannady are scheduled to perform at Kid's Court.
"We are excited to incorporate acting," Mace said.
Lowe, a 17-year English teacher and coach, said, "The kids have been working really hard after school. Members of the debate team will play the attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs. ... It's like going back in a time machine."