Carroll Students Participate in Annual Mock Trial Competition

Students from both schools were presented with an imaginary case – a woman sues her employer for harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress – and then played the role of counsel or witness. Preparation began in November, with team members meeting weekly to learn the specifics of the case and to perfect their skills. 
Poise. Confidence. Public speaking skills. Active listening skills. Improvisation. Teamwork. All are essential to a successful performance in mock trial; and thanks to CUA’s Street Law program, Carroll’s mock trial team members put these skills to use while learning about the field of law. Street Law is a nationwide initiative to create classroom and community programs that teach people about law, democracy and human rights worldwide. The high school mock trial competition is just one facet of CUA’s Street Law program.  

A talented group of sophomores and seniors represented Carroll during the day-long competition at CUA – Bigami Beli ‘16 (Attorney), Marcus Black ‘16 (Attorney), Larae Baker ‘18 (Witness), Sonia Bautista ‘18 (Witness), Zharia Coffey ‘18 (Witness), Krishna Najjar ‘18 (Attorney), Zuleima Santos ‘18 (Witness), Greta Terry ‘18  (Attorney), Andrew Wright ‘18 (Witness) and Funke Balogun ‘16 (Witness).

The rubric upon which judges graded the competitors included the delivery of their opening and closing arguments, their timely and accurate objections to the opposing counsel’s questions, and their knowledge of evidence and trial procedure. Zharia Coffey, Greta Terry, and Bigami Beli all won personal awards and distinguished themselves for their strong performances.

Social Studies Teacher Ms. Christine Sartori has served as moderator of Carroll’s mock trial team since it began five years ago. She is extremely pleased with how well the team performed and is proud of the students. She says, “Krishna was great. Marcus was passionate. Sonia had to play two roles and did them both brilliantly. Zuleima could not be shaken from her testimony and normally quiet Larae held firm in her responses to difficult questions.  Andrew did a perfect rendition of an attorney who was confident and in complete control.”

In addition to receiving guidance from Ms. Sartori, the students have benefited from the experiences of two Catholic University  law students, Taylor Thomas and Ashley Pratt. Both have volunteered many hours as mock trial coaches through CUA’s Street Law Program. The two have provided invaluable coaching and mentorship to Carroll students.

Ms. Sartori says, “We’re so grateful to both Taylor and Ashley. Both have given so much to the students. Not only do they teach them about the law, but they help students see that there are myriad opportunities that await them in college and beyond.”