Last week, the MICDS Upper School Mock Trial team competed in the 2021 State competition. This year, the competition was conducted over Zoom for all rounds, including preliminary rounds in January and February. “Since November, the team members have met three times a week to prepare the case, craft questions, take on roles as witnesses and lawyers, and learn how to think like lawyers,” shares Dr. Tanya Roth, Upper School History Teacher. “We were supported by Rebecca Nickelson, an attorney at Sinars Law, who has been the team’s attorney coach for an incredible two decades!”
The team this year included 21 students at all grade levels, including seven seniors who have all competed for multiple years. In January and February, students competed in preliminary rounds, and the full team was split into three smaller teams for those events. Because the competition was held on Zoom, they did not have their usual Regional competition and instead went from Round 2 to State. Only the top 16 teams in Missouri are invited to compete at the state level each year. “While we did not advance past State, all of the students did very well,” Roth shared.
- “Mock Trial gave me the chance to meet and become friends with people in different grades and with lots of other different interests! It was also a really great intellectual challenge and the opportunity to try out many different roles on the team. I was really proud to be chosen to deliver the prosecution and defense closings this year at state.”Mock Trial taught me so much about the importance of preparation and collaboration. Everything we did, we did as a team, which I believe made us so much more successful. Additionally, as I reflect back, I gained a lot of self-confidence as I started to trust myself more throughout the process. This newfound self-assurance helped me teach the newer students about Mock Trial, which makes me excited about their future in the program. These are skills and experiences that I know I will carry with me forever. Thanks for an amazing three years!! It was so ‘worth it!'” – Ally Kalishman ’21
- “Mock Trial is absolutely fantastic at teaching teamwork and public speaking skills. As it is an activity that requires extensive preparation and communication, it is a really fun challenge! I also learned a lot about what it’s like to be in a real courtroom and a bit about how trials work procedurally. Mock Trial gave me the chance to meet and become friends with people in different grades and with lots of other different interests! It was also a really great intellectual challenge and a great opportunity to try out many different roles on the team. I was really proud to be chosen to deliver the prosecution and defense closings this year at state. Overall, I really enjoyed my three years in Mock Trial (especially going to state my sophomore and senior years) and am excited to possibly continue competing at the college level next year!” – Fiona Richards ’21
- “I’ve developed and improved many skills through being in Mock Trial. I’ve definitely improved my public speaking skills, having to improvise and confidently give my responses as a witness during cross-examination. I know that I’ve become more confident in my ability to perform well under pressure. I’ve also learned a lot about what it’s like to truly commit to something and to understand what it means to fully commit to something. Mock Trial is hard work and it is time-consuming, but the hard work and time put in does pay off in the end.” – Ashley Benoist ’23
- “Before Mock Trial, I only had a vague idea about the structure of a trial, but being a part of Mock Trial has taught me all about openings, directs, crosses, and closings. I also learned how to object well and about the rules of a trial, like hearsay not being allowed. Even though we were on Zoom this year, the entire team had an amazing bond, and I was able to learn so much from the returning students and the coaches. After participating in Mock Trial this year, I have learned a lot more about what it’s like to be a lawyer and how to find the little details that could determine the outcome of a trial.” ~Ananya Kamineni ’24
- “The top lessons I’ve learned are how far hard work and camaraderie can take you, as well as how to develop a solid argument with an overarching, hard-hitting theme. Not only did these help our team get to state, but they also strengthened my academic writing as well. I’ve learned how to develop and portray a character and even found my own voice through advocating for our witnesses. I’ve also made so many new friends and connections through Mock Trial. From getting up at 5 a.m. for State to staying up until 10 p.m. trying to solidify our case, we have gone through it all together, creating life-long friendships while making us stronger as a team. I cried during our final trial because of the seniors leaving, even though this was my first year on the team. The bonds that form during Mock Trial are unlike any other I’ve witnessed. These bonds even extend to our coaches, Rebecca Nickelson and Dr. Roth! To the seven seniors graduating this year, thank you for everything. I know you will do great things in your respective paths. Don’t forget us, and please come back to visit! Also, JOIN MOCK TRIAL!! It may be a huge time commitment, but it is so much fun and so worth it!” – Sanchi Vishwakarma ’23
Congratulations to this 2021 Mock Trial team on their hard work and successes this school year. The 2021 season is adjourned!