September 27th, 2019
Mock Trial moves to the courtroom
WED. | 1-25-23 | NEWS
Mock Trial is an extracurricular offered at Rose that allows students to gain experience with court trials by practicing and participating in a simulated trial. Social studies teacher Liza Knight is the Mock Trial coach at Rose and this will be her 20th year in this position. Rose’s Mock Trial teams will be competing in person this year after being virtual for the past three years due to COVID-19.
“We get a case in early September and then we form teams of seven to nine students and we start to prepare the case,” Knight said. “Some students play the role of the witness and some play attorneys; we spend several months preparing both sides of the case and then on competition day we will compete against other high schools.”
Competitions have run differently than normal over the past few years due to COVID-19.
“In 2020, we had our regional competition, but then the day before we were supposed to leave for our state competition, everything started shutting down, and it got canceled,” Knight said. “Our national competition was canceled that year as well.”
Photo by Lorian McGillicuddy
Since 2020, Mock Trial has not had any sense of normalcy in the courtroom because both trials and practices were adjusted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The last two years of competitions were completely virtual; therefore, we did a lot of remote practices to help prepare,” Knight said. “Two years ago, they were practicing pretty much completely from home through Zoom and then last year we practiced at school but still used Zoom to get used to it for competitions.”
For the first time in three years, Mock Trial practices and competitions will be fully in person and back to normal. For many members, this will be something completely new.
However, Murray Hughes, who is a junior on the Mock Trial team, was able to experience an in-person mock trial atmosphere at Top Mock in 2021. Top Mock is a Mock Trial summer program held at Furman University.
“While I was at Top Mock, we were able to actually go and compete against other teams who were actually at Furman in person,” Hughes said.
When comparing in-person competitions to virtual ones, Hughes pefers in-person because he feels less nervous.
“When you're using Zoom, anything could go wrong like your internet could go out or your computer could crash,” Hughes said. “When competing in person, you don't have to worry about all those things.”
Knight also prefers in-person competitions over virtual ones.
“Keeping people engaged and motivated is a lot harder to do when people are at home and on their computers than it is inside a courtroom,” Knight said. “It's also a lot harder to work together as a team when we are not physically in the same space.”
Knight feels strongly that unless something with COVID-19 drastically changes, there is no way all Mock Trial competitions will be virtual this year.
Hughes is excited that this year's competitions will be back to normal and he has many hopes for his team as they compete this year.
“Hopefully this year we can be really successful,” Hughes said. “We’ve got an amazing team with some really good and experienced people and I think we will be able to go pretty far.”