For the first time in the FHPS District’s history, the Mock Trial team from Forest Hills Eastern/Northern has won the State Championship! On Saturday, March 18, the team competed in Lansing at the Veterans Memorial Courthouse against schools from all over the state, culminating in a tough final round against a team from Ann Arbor Community High School. The team now advances to the National Mock Trial Competition held this year in May in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they will compete against schools from all over the United States as well as Guam, South Korea and the Northern Mariana Islands. Please congratulate our students on their exemplary achievement!
The team is also grateful to the Michigan Center for Civic Education for their willingness to work with the team and the National Committee to allow a combined team for competition at regionals.
In the photo above: Arabella Dorado (timekeeper), Ally Alkema, Parker Thompson, Sam Sietsema, Nat DeWaard (FHN) Natalie Mouw, Eve Orban, Rishika Kokkula, Adrian Kaiser, Kayla Hazeltine, Madison Jakems (courtroom artist) Blake Judge, Alyssa Delaney, Julian Zolenski, teacher coach Linda McCarthy, attorney coach Gary Mouw, and attorney coach Tom McCarthy.
Not included in the photo: understudies Ananya Arulmaurugan, Alexis Curtis, Rachel Hyun, Wesley Martin-Sharples, Peter Mouw and Aayush Sule.
For those of you unfamiliar with Mock Trial, here is a little background. The Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament is organized and conducted by the Center for Civic Education through Law. (https://miciviced.org). The program is designed to reenact much of what might take place in trial courts.
In competitive mock trials, high school students take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses and compete against other schools in real courtrooms, in front of real judges and lawyers. While the students take on a role, there is no set script. Teams devise their own strategies, students draft their own opening and closing statements, prepare their own questions for direct and cross-examination, learn applicable state or federal evidence rules and how to apply them, including making and arguing objections.
Team members playing witnesses are given their character’s sworn statements, but are on their own when facing cross-examination from opposing counsel. Knowledge of all aspects of the case is necessary when facing down opposing counsel on the stand. As in a debate, participants must adjust to the strategies employed by the other side.
The team would like to thank everyone for their support, including Judge Sara Smolenski and the staff at the 63rd District Court for letting the team use one of their courtrooms for practice.