It is important to take advantage of all high school has to offer. Never again will you have the (almost) unlimited ability to join any extracurriculars- whether this be sports, clubs, or a musical group. However, unless you have connections or a passion to do some digging, it can be difficult to know all of the clubs offered at Eastern. This series of articles hopes to shed some light on the different clubs at Eastern so you can find the right club for you.
The day of the trial had come. I stood next to my lawyer as the prosecution team filed in. To my amazement, I had utter confidence in our case. I knew I would not be convicted of my very serious charges of first-degree arson and felony murder; we had prepared endlessly for this moment and were equipped for any angle the opposing side might take.
This is the nature of Mock Trial. A dedicated, hard-working, and tight-knit group of students takes on the roles of lawyers and witnesses to prepare for trial. Each year the case is different. Last year, my role was the defendant, Chris Munroe: a high school senior accused of murdering a classmate through the premeditated means of first-degree arson. My team and I prepared both sides of the case: one that defended the accused Chris Munroe, and one that prosecuted her.
Though our team is “split” into two sides, we all work together to produce a well-oiled and solid case. During practice, the defense and the prosecution run the case against each other, but during competitions, one side of the team will verse the opposing side from a different school.
November 1st is a monumental day in the world of Mock Trial: the day the case is released! The case material includes the charging document (with a criminal or civil accusation), the affidavits for each witness, and enough evidence to make a strong argument on either side.
The team consists of witnesses and lawyers – each role is of vital importance to the team’s success. The witnesses are given affidavits, or personal testimonies, that tell the event from the perspective of that witness. The student then becomes that witness. It is acting to its core – a complete impersonation. The affidavits do not cover everything about the witness, so it is especially vital that the student memorizes what is in their character’s affidavit and what is not, as they are only allowed to testify to material within their affidavit.
The lawyers prepare direct examinations as well as cross-examinations. The direct examination is when they question their own witness to present the validity of their case and the legitimacy of their witness. The lawyer works with the witness they represent to prepare the direct examination. The cross-examination, on the other hand, consists of lawyers questioning the opposing witness to expose weaknesses in the other side’s testimony. Thankfully, each lawyer is allowed a redirect after the cross-examination to emphasize their case and take the spotlight off the holes in their argument.
As exhilarating and intense as the case is, the teamwork and bonding stand out as the most important part of Mock Trial. By the end of last year, our team was extremely close; we’d spent hours together both on zoom and at school, we had a million inside jokes, and many of us were in tears about the end of our season.
This year’s returning seniors Olivia Benedict and Samantha Garvin are the team leaders and are ready to hit the ground running. “I’m excited about the new case since every year is a new chance to win states,” Benedict shares. She also adds that “the dedication that goes into Mock Trial practices is what makes it worth it.” As a four-year Mock Trial member, Benedict has put in her fair share of late nights and early mornings for practices and competitions. This commitment from every team member is what makes the experience so extraordinary.
If you are hard-working, committed, and driven to succeed, Mock Trial could very well be the place for you.