There are three types of people in this world. Those who think of jury duty when they hear the word “court”, others, the infamous Law and Order theme song, and Valencia High School (VHS)’ Mock Trial, of their incredible performance in the 2018 playoffs.
Over the past four months, Mock Trial’s Gold team took weeks of practice and turned it into courtroom dominance. In the process, they garnered an impressive record of six wins to one loss, the best season performance VHS has ever seen. Gold team attorney, Aditya Mody (11) credited this year’s accomplishment to “preparedness, and, above all, our teacher and attorney coaches. They are really the ones behind this victory.” Coaches expressed similar sentiments, taking special notice of their seniors’ contributions. Looking to take this year’s achievements and turn it into valuable experience, Coach and Librarian Joy Millam optimistically claims to “have cracked the code — the kids now understand what they need to do to be successful.”
Don’t be fooled by their fearless demeanor, it was no mere stroke of luck VHS’ stunning success came in 2018. Looking to encompass a more intensive practice regiment, Mock Trial employed 90 to 120 minute sessions after school three times a week. To put that into perspective, they added another day of preparation on top of the 100% increase in total session time. During practices, the team focused on dissecting each case into its various pieces. From there, they assigned roles and began to cultivate their performance. At this point, a divide and conquer tactic was employed by all members of the Gold team. While students individually formulated their own presentations, they heavily depended on one another for both advice and encouragement. They also took time to discuss elements of previous years’ competitions and ways to improve in order to perfect this year’s act. Crucial, yet often underestimated by inexperienced teams, presentation was one of the largest challenges VHS’s Mock Trial faced. Before competing, it was imperative they make an effort to always “practice and polish our public speaking” said Mody. With these obstacles in mind, each member was forced to challenge themselves by maintaining self-confidence, thinking critically, and utilizing communication and teamwork during practices.
Though season may be short lived, Mock Trial’s tenacity for competition is not. While their Seniors are preparing to enter the realm of higher education, the underclassmen have taken in this year’s playoffs performances and internalized the experience. Millam confidently declared, “Next year is going to be great– we have some incredible kids coming up from the Blue team combined with our underclassmen on Gold; we will be a force to be reckoned with.”