Heathwood Mock Trial Coach Barb Petit is the 2017 recipient of the South Carolina Bar Association's Citizen of the Year Award. The award honors Petit's work with both Heathwood's Upper School and Middle School mock trial teams.
With Petit's considerable support, both teams have been highly successful in the past two years. The Middle School team has advanced out of regionals into the state competition two years in a row, while the Upper School team has won the regional competition both years and finished first in the state in this year's Youth in Government Mock Trial competition, earning a trip to the national competition this summer.
Members of the Upper School team call Petit both an outstanding coach and a role model. "She has to handle logistics, other coaches, other teams," said Sophomore Marra Edwards. "When she wasn't able to be at the Youth in Government competition with us, we had to do all of that, and it showed us how much she puts in."
"As much time as we spend in the practice room, she's here twice as much," added Junior Alyce Petit.
That's why "we owe it to her to work hard," said Sophomore Lexie Colwell.
Upper School Head George Scouten said it was hard to imagine anyone more deserving of the award: “Barb has given enormously of herself to this program. She is out at Heathwood countless hours, meeting with students during study halls or free periods, before school, and after school. She has arranged for consultants to come into town and do workshops with our Mock Trial team, and she takes kids to summer programs all over the country. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen an adult put as many hours into a scholastic club as she does—and I know a lot of kids who invest a lot of time in kids!”
Petit herself says that while she takes pride in her teams' success, she's even more proud of the way they comport themselves. "What I've noticed and other coaches have noticed is that our students never hesitate to help other teams have the resources they need," she said. "They're not trying to win by any means necessary--they want to win on the strength of the argument."