Posted on 28. Feb, 2012 by Erika Pedroza
The Decatur High School mock trial team will compete at the state level this weekend in Dallas.
The team — which includes Arin Blaylock, Holt Garner, Tamara Green, Andie Keller, Graham McCain, Laura Nicholson, Madeline Peña, Hayley Raasch, Paulina Sanchez, Tyler Sirman and Jasmine Walia — earned the bid after placing first at regionals in January.
Despite being without coach Susanne Parker (who suffered a brain injury in December), the team managed to coach itself to success.
A story in tomorrow’s edition of the Messenger features that struggle, motivation and perseverance. However, the mechanics of mock trial competition are not explained.
At state, the team — comprised of three lawyers, six witnesses (three for prosecution and three for defense), a timekeeper and research and development — will argue a case (about 60 pages long) they received in October.
To prepare, each witness memorizes a set of facts and settles into their character. Lawyers must memorize opening and closing statements. Then the team scrutinizes each witness’ weaknesses, determining ways to expose and hide those weaknesses.
The team must know every angle in approaching the case, as the team will be assigned as the defense or plaintiff at each trial, and they don’t know which until they are there.
It sounds pretty intense for being an “extra-curricular” activity, but it’s done “out of love, out of competitive drive and bigger things I can’t capture in words,” Parker said. And in a half-hour interview with the kids, entertained by their wit and camaraderie through inside jokes and laughs, I grew to understand that.
Good luck this weekend, DHS mock trial!