Mock Trial Goes to State

Colin Jones, Author

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The new Mock Trial team advanced to State Competition and placed 28th out of the 160 schools in attendance.

“The competition is excellent for any student wishing to improve his or her ability to analyze
facts and present a compelling argument, improve their public speaking skills, the ability to think
on their feet, and their overall self-confidence,” Coach and Criminal Justice Instructor Valerie C. Krizan said.

Each team must learn both sides of the case study (Prosecution/Plaintiff and Defense) and students must play the roles of both attorneys and witnesses in a ‘mock’ trial. Members work together to learn the facts of the case and create strategies for trial and then compete in local-area meets.

“Most of the kids who participate in Mock Trial have been in the Criminal Justice program for a couple of years, but some students are new,” Krizan said. “Students who are good in debate, theater, or criminal justice often do well on a Mock Trial team.”

All students who show an interest in participating are given the opportunity to try out. Students must also meet UIL eligibility requirements and go through the recommendation process.

“I believe I did well playing my part as a witness,” senior Blyss Rees said. “I had a huge job to do because I was the defendant. Our team performed excellent as well considering this was our first year participating in the competition.”

For the Texas High School Mock Trial Competition, there are three main levels. The first
competition is Regionals, the next level is the State Competition, and the last is the National
Competition.

“Personally I think I did very well in the competition,” senior Grant Weir said. “The Trial was a lot of fun; I had to get emotional on the stand and fake cry. I won best witness for our second round.”

Teams who progress to the state competition that place within the top 4 are awarded scholarship money for college. There are also awards given to the student that portrays the best student attorney and the best student witness as decided by the judges.

“I hope they’ve learned good sportsmanship, good work ethic, teamwork, self-confidence, problem solving, public-speaking skills, professionalism, and life-long friendships,” Krizan said.