WEST HARTFORD — Amani Snellings, 7th grade student at King Philip Middle School, placed second in the 2020 Kids Court Competition, according to an email from the school. She was one of 10 finalists in the Virtual Kids Court Competition on the evening of June 9 who presented essays and responded to questioning from Connecticut state judges.
Students’ essays covered topics ranging from immigration, climate change, and bullying to discrimination as it relates to the ongoing pandemic. Snellings’ essay focused on gun control. Her knowledge of this subject, dedication to refining her original essay, and poise when responding to questioning helped her place high in this crowded competition.
When asked about her participation in Kids Court, Amani said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given to raise my voice. The competition was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to enter again next year. I’d also like to thank everyone who helped me along the way. I really appreciate it.”
Amani has been an active member of King Philip’s diversity club since sixth-grade. She also participated in a Bridges Program offered at King Philip this past fall in partnership with the NCCJ (National Conference for Community & Justice).
According to Atty. Cheryl Sharp of Connecticut’s Commission of Human Rights & Opportunities, “Kids Court is an annual essay and oral advocacy competition for students in middle and high school.”
Snellings submitted her essay in late May and was selected as a finalist because her essay scored well. King Philip students from the Diversity Club, Mock Trial Club, and other groups have entered this contest over the past four years. While a previous King Philip student was selected as a finalist, Snellings placed higher than any prior King Philip entrant.
The Kids Court adjudication is typically the culminating event that kicks off with Kids Speak at the University of Connecticut School of Law. King Philip is one of several middle and high schools from across Connecticut that participate annually in the Kids Speak event. Kids Speak was cancelled because of the ongoing pandemic. Fortunately the cancellation of Kids Speak did not stop Amani Snellings from entering and thriving in the Kids Court competition.