Alumni Events

Under Judicial Review

Macaela Bennett July 13, 2018
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With first-day jitters, students arrive from Florida, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Liberty University’s very own Virginia for Judicial 2018. Sheltered by a grove of trees beside their spacious dorm, students wave goodbye to brave parents and meet friends, old and new! Over a lemonade, corn hole, and the clamor of a foursquare, talk of Moot Court and favorite professors drift through the humid afternoon.



The following morning 48 sharply-dressed students stream from white passenger vans to ascend the steps of the Law School. Anticipation for worship and legendary interactive lectures brightens every face. Will exhaustion set in during three substantive days of legal training? Without a doubt. It takes a great deal to analyze real Case Law, identify critical evidence, and mentally prepare for the unknowns of the tournament. Law Firms rally their members to make every moment count, absorbing information and work collaboratively. New concepts take shape, winning arguments are crafted, and the bond of trust grows stronger with every tick of the clock.




Students now crowd the gym, this time in t-shirts and sneakers, and let out nervous energy. By Wednesday night when Program Director Brandon Batchelor shares his testimony, openness and vulnerability permeate every hallway and dorm room. Long past sunset, students gather to pray and proof each other’s work. Soon they’ll be facing-off before the bench, but tonight they are family.

I’m so in love with the community. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever been part of before. I’ve laughed so much this week and cried a lot too; these are probably the best people I’ve ever met. I feel privileged to call them friends. (Lydia, WI)

The tournament days progress intensely as striving well redefines “my best” for many. Results posted to the walls will direct the course of the final day. With hugs and high-fives the students remind one another that identity in Christ and the success He provides must be valued above all else.

God opened doors for me this week. He’s pushed me, and He made me new. I’ve made so many friends. (Collyn, AK)

On Thursday white passenger vans snake their way up Liberty Mountain. Evening clouds bloom in pale blues, peach, then gold and crimson fire. Frisbees and kites glide overhead. Photos must be taken. Songs and laughter mingle with the fireflies. Ease and grateful companionship is unmistakable. At nightfall they gather to proclaim with joined hands “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” Straining to catch the last echo, voices proclaiming passionate commitment rumble far down cool cement walls. Dismissed to Rendezvous with the questions “What are you doing?” (1 Kings 19:13) and “Do you love me?” (John 15:17), it would be months before memories of this day fade from any hearts.



Guests and students are now seated at the Awards Banquet. They made it; the victory is won. TeenPact President Caleb Fitzpatrick (‘14) challenges eager listeners to live in Christ and boldly “shoot underhand” at the freethrow line in a world calling you a coward. Abandon a spectator’s judgment and do what it takes to truly walk out one’s faith beyond these formative weeks. Student-nominated representative Charlie Hester takes the stage to proclaim changes God worked in his own life. Charlie’s honest, compelling emotion breaks down barriers of pride and sufficiency that could have blocked any heart. God really was at work.

I can’t even begin to explain or understand that extent of His impact on my life this week. I absolutely loved Judicial. I can’t wait to come back. (Anna, GA)

Though early flights and crowded vans usher students into the next season, lessons of faith and commitment to friendships will continue bearing fruit for years to come. We know how injustice and fear touch our homes, churches, and families. Illness, violence, and tragic loss shape who we become. Judicial has reminded us that following Jesus in a world of abounding injustice takes a great deal of trust and a community to demonstrate just how trustworthy He will be.


Congratulations to our four finalists: Hope Turner, Ethan Snider, Anna Dyess, and Thomas Curro.


Go to TeenPact Judicial photo gallery






About the Author

Macaela Bennett

Macaela Bennett hails from the land of chai lattes and emerald landscapes — Portland, Oregon. In high school, she worked at a favorite pacific… Read More