Rock Canyon’s three mock trial teams and their attorney coaches pose after completing their fourth and final round, February 9. The sophomore team placed first in the competition, the senior team placed fourth, and the freshman team placed eleventh.
By Amanda Brauchler, RCHS intern writer; photos courtesy of RCHS
After four months of preparation, nine students entered the daunting courtroom, filled with attorneys, onlookers, a judge and their competitors. For the next two days, the students played the parts of both witnesses and attorneys, graded on their professionalism, portrayal, and speaking. All 11 high school teams competed with one goal: to be one of the two teams to go to state.
Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) sent three mock trial teams to the Douglas County regional competition February 8 and 9. Along with eight other teams, they competed at the Robert A. Christensen courthouse in Castle Rock in front of a judge and three “jury members,” the scoring panelists. These teams all received a criminal case in early fall, where they had until the competition to prepare the witnesses and statements for attorneys.
At RCHS, student teams pair up with a local attorney. This year, they had attorney coaches from the Arapahoe and Denver District Attorney’s offices. The teams assign roles where students can be an attorney or witness, on either defense or prosecution. From there, students either wrote their statements as attorneys, or memorized their witness statements and prepared for questioning as witnesses.
The Rock Canyon sophomore mock trial team poses outside of the Robert A. Christensen courthouse with their Professionalism and Outstanding Attorney awards. The team went out to dinner to celebrate their awards and the news that they were going to state.
“I joined Mock Trial because of the people that were already involved,” Amiya Sharma, a mock witness and 80108 resident said. “I definitely think all the effort I put in paid off because it was very fun and interesting just to be a part of a trial.” Sharma is part of the sophomore team that won the professionalism award and first in the competition, allowing them entry into the state finals. Abby McClain, a senior, was one of RCHS’s two “Outstanding Attorneys” (Editor’s note: the other winner was Amanda Brauchler, the author of this article) and Nate Wilking won an “Outstanding Witness” award.
“Mock Trial is my favorite club at RCHS because we get to work on new skills, meet new people and have lots of fun,” Alisha Pravasi, another witness on the sophomore team said.
With the Colorado state competition in Golden on March 8 and 9, the sophomore team continues to prepare for their future competition.
“The outcome of working with my best friends on something we are all passionate about is worth every single hour we put in,” Delaney Boston, a sophomore witness said.