CSI student Elliot Greiner handcuffs mock drunk driving suspect Jason Sentman at the scene of a mock crash Wednesday on Westwood Drive. Sentman is a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Credit: DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

Houston High School students participating in the 2023 Constitution Project competition practiced several times this week.

On Monday, crime scene investigators worked a mock murder at the Piney River Technical Center, and then on Wednesday, CSI and journalism personnel worked a mock crash scene on Westwood Drive. On Thursday, the two groups met for a mock press conference.

The activities were staged preparation for upcoming competition in Springfield.

There are three groups in which students participate in the project: CSI, journalism and trial advocacy.

Crime scene competition (involving CSI and journalism students) will take place on Tuesday (Oct. 10) at the Greene County Public Safety Center. Other schools in Houston’s region include Doniphan, Springfield Central and Neosho. 

Acting as a sergeant with the Houston Police Department, CSI student Owen Wells provides information to journalism students at the crash scene. Assisting the journalists were former Houston Herald publisher Brad Gentry and current publisher Isaiah Buse. 

The other region will compete Wednesday (Oct. 11) in Rolla, including Rolla, Fort Osage, Camdenton and School of the Osage. 

The trial portion for Houston’s region is set for Monday, Oct. 23, at the Texas County Justice Center in Houston. 

Founded in Houston in 2011, the Constitution Project gives high school students a hands-on opportunity to investigate and report about a mock crime scene and eventually try “suspects” in a mock trial, all under the mentorship of local professionals in the fields of crime scene investigation, journalism and trial advocacy. 

During a practice session at the Piney River Technical Center, HHS CSI students Carli Cummins, left, and Katelynn Garnica arrest HHS senior Santana Ramirez, who was playing the role of an outraged student who murdered his instructor over a test grade.
CSI student Shaun Buck listens to Houston Police Department officer Cathryn Davis at a mock crash scene Wednesday on Westwood Drive.
HHS junior Elliot Greiner holds up a mannequin “murder victim” as fellow CSI member Tyler Kelly takes photos as evidence Monday at the Piney River Technical Center.
HHS Constitution Project crime scene investigators work with real-life law enforcement officers at the scene of a mock crash caused by a drunk driver Wednesday morning on Westwood Drive.

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