Making the case for mock trial


There is still room for more members to join the team; those interested should talk to Mrs. Jessica Williams in the guidance office.

Launching into uncharted EHS territory, Mrs. Jessica Williams, the new counselor for talented and gifted students, has created another opportunity for kids to explore a career in a field students don’t experience elsewhere in their lives: a mock trial team.

“If you want to be an attorney or go into law, you can practice it in mock trial,” Alonso Sansores-Dominguez (12) said.

Students in mock trial act as attorneys, arguing against the attorneys of other schools, or as witnesses, who must know their story completely to give a convincing performance on the stand.

Last year, Mrs. Cindy Hefling, former TAG counselor, said that if the model U.N. went well, students could start a mock trial team.

This year, Mary DiValerio (12) went to Mrs. Williams  to talk to her about forming a mock trial team. Mrs. Williams didn’t know much about mock trial, but she looked into it, saying it looked like a great experience for students to have.

“I’ve never done this before,” Mrs. Williams said. “I’m excited to see how far we can go.”

The purpose of the club is to investigate one case; the team starts as either the prosecution or the defense and competes against other schools’ mock trial teams, and then switches sides, earning points as the trial progresses.

Teams earn points for how well attorneys argue, how witnesses do on the stand and, of course, if the team wins the trial.

“If you like arguing or you’re thinking about going into law, you should join,” Liddy DiValerio (11) said.

Despite its obvious ties to debate and law, mock trial is something that requires students with other skill sets, as well.

“To be a witness, you have to be a good actor,” Mrs. Williams said. “You have to be convincing.”

The mock trial program is organized by the Barr Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

“The first trial is in January,” Mrs. Williams said. “We are going to use an attorney coach to help the students who are going to be lawyers.”

The team will be competing with other St. Louis high schools for the first two rounds; the first of which is Jan. 28 and 30, followed by Feb. 25 and 27.

They could then move onto the regional round on March 11 and 13, then state on March 28-30, and finally, a national competition in Madison, Wisconsin, May 8-10, for which the teams competing will receive a separate case.

“It’s a time commitment; we meet twice a week after school for an hour and a half,” Mrs. Williams said. “If you’re good at public speaking, debate, or acting, you should join.”

There is still room on the team for more students; those interested should talk to Mrs. Williams in the guidance office.