It is finally here: Mock Trial Competition Week. Find out about the their journey to this awaited time and all that it means to them.
As many have heard, the Mock Trial regionals are this week, February 13-16th, coming up next week, and the “Mockstars” - as they are most commonly known - have been gearing up for the quickly approaching competition. However, this year’s case is particularly complicated because it is an adult abuse and aggravated assault case. Instead of being a matter of guilt or innocence, the case is to determine whether or not the juvenile defendant should be tried as an adult.
At St. Mary’s, the Mock Trial team has a proud history and is striving to continue the legacy this year. In the past two seasons, St. Mary’s has advanced to state, coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively, and they are hopeful that 2017 will mark the fourth year in a row for state competition.
Since October, the girls have dedicated countless hours, afternoons, and even weekends, all for this upcoming competition. While it may seem that the Mock Trial season is four months of preparation that just leads to a two-week competition, to the members of the team, it means so much more. Lily Monroe (11) says “Mock Trial takes up my entire life, but I love it, and I would not change it for the world.” Gabby Perez (10) adds, “Competition week is exhausting, but it is also the greatest week of the year. Even though you are tired all throughout the day, you get back to the courthouse and you are full of adrenalin.”
Mock Trial at any grade-level is difficult, but the freshman experience is amplified. Victoria Ouyang (9), a defense attorney, states that “there's already a huge learning curve with the difficulty of learning the rules and preparing a case... There is a lot of pressure to do everything right.” However, Victoria adds, “the team is so supportive, and they all genuinely want each other to do well, so it makes the process much easier.” Sarah Bratton (9), who is a prosecution attorney this year, similarly recognizes this support system, saying, “When you are at counsel table, it can feel like you are completely alone, but your co-counsels are always there to support you. In that way, Mock Trial is both an individual and a team event.”
Nevertheless, Mock Trial requires significant amounts of confidence and determination. The transition to arguing independently can be very challenging. Carmen Freeman, a first year senior, also says, “mock trial is really intense initially with all of the information, but it was really fun to get into because I got to know all of the laws and rules better.”
Yet, Mock Trial is not all rules and arguing. In fact, a significant aspect of the Mock Trial experience is the team’s unity. Similarly, Pooja Talati (10) adds, “Since we spend so much time together, we really get to know each other. Really, we do not have to make an effort to bond, because we are all so tired and need to support each other to succeed; the bonding happens naturally.” Furthermore, she describes that her favorite mock-star tradition is the infamous peach tea. “It could be thirty degrees outside, but we’d still have our iced peach tea at every practice,” she says. Sneha Sharma, a junior witness, truly sums up the mock trial experience, saying, “what makes Mock Trial so special, besides all the hard work and pay off we get when it is done, is the stories and memories we make along the way.”
This year the team will be showing off their hard work for all to see this upcoming Monday, February 13th through Thursday, February 16th, with finals the following week on the 21st and the 22nd. Every day that the team competes, trials start between 5:30 and 6:00 pm and can finish as late as as 9:30. Despite the overwhelmingly long hours, Pooja Talati (10) says, “trial week is rewarding because you get to see all of your practice put to use in a real life courtroom.” So, come out and support your turkey Mockstars as they tackle the case of the State of Tennessee vs. Hadley Gruber next week at 140 Adams!