Position: Mock Trial Team Coach / English Teacher
School: York Preparatory High School
School District: York Preparatory Academy
City, State: Rock Hill, SC
Music that Describes Carissa
Carissa James was nominated by an anonymous student.
Ms. James has been a dedicated teacher coach of York Preparatory Academy (YPA)’s mock trial team since it began six years ago. Over the past six years, she has helped the team grow from a six member team that did not have enough students to play all of the roles, to a commanding 16 member regional district winning team.
What is most impressive is that Ms. James gave the same amount of time, love, dedication and commitment for excellence to her first year team as she does to the current team. She consistently shows complete confidence in her team's ability. She has always been their number one cheerleader while teaching important law education skills that her students can not only use for mock trial, but that they can take with them through life, regardless of what professions they choose.
It does not take much time to see how greatly Ms. James cares for each and every member of YPA’s mock trial team. She cares about her students as individuals, not simply for what we might bring forth to the team. She conducts her classroom with this same level of care, compassion and dedication, which is one of the many reasons she was named 2018-2019 District Teacher of the Year and a contributor to York Preparatory Academy being named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2018.
"Ms. James helped to mold me from a shy, nervous person into a confident, outspoken young man who has volunteered for multiple local political campaigns," said her nominator. "I attribute this to Ms. James having me in one of her classes and telling me I should join the team. She saw something in me I didn’t know was there, and she does this for countless students, whether they're students in her mock trial team, students in her classes, or just students at the school. I believe that is a testament to her ability as a teacher. I know that she is a LifeChanger in our community."