The student news website of Omaha Central High School

Former central student and current alumni sponsors new mock trial team

October 12, 2017

After taking a break, Central High School is once again participating in the Mock Trial Competition. The competition team, which once was very successful, is once again planning to compete in the upcoming Mock Trial competitions. Central High School AP World teacher Victoria Deniston-Reed and a local attorney, Brian Fahey are running the team.

Brian Fahey, a former Central High School student, and current attorney is doing most of the instructional information for the team. Reed is acting as the competition sponsor, and assists with instructing and helping the students. Reed said, “Fahey wanted to bring back the program. I have great respect for him as a former student and supporter of Central, so I agreed.”

The mock trial competition consists of a team of six students, three acting as attorneys and three acting as witnesses. The contestants are given a case file which contains evidence and give the back story to the case. The teams of six prepare for the competition by reading the case file and studying the information given.

Not only do the contestants need to understand the case file, but they are also responsible for understanding how the court room operates. The students need to be ready to present evidence, give statements, and question witnesses, in the same regard that would happen in front of a judge. This means that the contestants also learn about rules and ethics of the courtroom, along with what the different ethics and rules mean.

One of the biggest skills the participants are getting out of this program is the ability to read the court cases critically and gain problem solving skills. When competing contestants need to read the case file and understand the information being presented to them. They then have to apply that information to the arguments they are making. This helps with critical reading skills and reading comprehension. Students also gain problem solving skills because they need to be able to look at the case file from both points of view. When competing, teams will be asked to present both sides of the case, meaning they have to look at both sides of the story.

Another important skill participants will be learning is public speaking. While competing in the competition, team members will need to be able to talk in front of a set of judges who will be acting as a jury. Reed said, “I don’t care what profession you go into, there will be some sort of public speaking.”

Even if not considering a law degree, Mock Trial is an amazing team to join. The skills learned in mock trial will be important no matter what profession someone goes into. Many of the critical reading, reading comprehension, and public speaking skills learned and practiced in mock trial will help students with their classes now in high school. This program is an excellent program for anyone to join.

Reed is hopeful for the future of Mock Trial. While the team is new this year, it already has interested members and participants. Reed said, “This is a building year, but I anticipate Central will be as good at Mock Trial as they were in the past.”

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