Words: Natalie Keane
Empire Mock Trial is a club in which students learn to debate with each other while gaining perspective on world topics and issues. The students of the club use critical thinking skills while simulating a real court case.
From September 21 to 25, the students of this club attended an International Empire Mock Trial competition taking place in Atlanta, Georgia. The group, made up of 17 students including two team captains, competed against teams from around the country and the world in the span of five days, where they put their skills to the test in a case involving prison negligence.
“The best part about going to an international competition is getting to meet new people and getting closer with those you know,” junior Mary Slattery said, who serves as the team’s attorney, “[The] competition is intense and requires a lot of work, so we spend a lot of time with our team.”
While in Atlanta, they also toured the CNN world headquarters and met with CNN10 host Carl Azus, who spent time with them and talked about working at CNN.
The team had been preparing for the competition since June, but while Centennial did not end up coming in first, the trip was much more to them than beating their opponents. It was about team bonding, building their strengths and having fun.
“It’s more than just getting a trophy at the end of the day,” said Kelli McDonough-Schlehr, Empire Mock Trial’s teacher sponsor.
“They’re learning public speaking skills, they’re enhancing their confidence, [and] they’re also learning how to work as a team,” McDonough-Schlehr said.
Mock Trial is a team-oriented activity, which means it’s not just one person’s score that relates to how the team does. Everyone’s participation matters, and when someone faults, the support system falls into place.
“When one person was struggling, other people were there to help that individual,” said McDonough-Schlehr. “So, it’s really nice to see that.”
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