Friday, students from the school’s mock trial team will be competing at the state competition after taking home first place at the regional NCAJ Mock Trial Competition held in February.
“When we heard that we won first place, we were ecstatic and so proud of the team,” Mock Trial Team coach Kaye Lemons said.
The team is comprised of seven students from all class levels. Traditionally, students, like sophomore Ashley Teague, may join with little knowledge or experience with Mock Trial, but rather have a passion for law. Mock Trial coaches, Lemons and history teacher Elizabeth Ford-Ferguson, familiarize team members with courtroom procedures, etiquette and how civil cases develop.
“I really liked learning how law works. I walked in and I didn’t know any of the ways of how to oppose or how a lawyer actually acts,” said Teague. “But I learned a lot when I did mock trial.”
At a competition, teams are given a fake civil case in which they take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses and plaintiffs. They analyze data, information, and sequence of events, just as real civil workers would. By using acting skills, the teams perfect their individual roles and eventually present their case in front of a real group of judges and lawyers.
“I was super, super nervous because you’re performing in front of judges. It’s very nerve wracking,” sophomore Amber Gay said. “The hardest part is memorization.”
Roberson’s team had been preparing for this competition since September, practicing two to three times a week.
“I’d never done anything like this, so I was nervous. But once I was on stand as a witness, all the practice came back and it just felt really natural,” Teague said.
During regionals, the team argued with the opposing team for three hours. Lemmons said that tension was building throughout the process, and it wasn’t until the very end when the team knew that they were going bring home the win.
“As our team was defending the plaintiff in the Final Round, Mrs. Ferguson and I had a feeling that we were winning, but you never know,” Lemons said.
At the state competition in Raleigh, the team will face nine other North Carolina Mock Trial winners. As the state competition neared, the practice schedule became much more rigorous with practice every day after school.
“I’m very excited and hopeful. We’ve practiced a bunch to get really good at it and do our best,” Teague said.
Lemmons believes the team can do well at the state level.
“Confidence is key,” she said.