Community News

Seaford Mock Trial Lays Down The Law

Pictured: The Seaford High School Mock Trial team competed in the regional tournament on March 20 at the Nassau County Supreme Court building. From left are Emma Simcox, Kieran Calderaro, Erik Zhang, Angelina Brodie, adviser Alexander Becker, Faith Schaefer and Grace Costello.

Photo courtesy of the Seaford School District

The case was fake but the knowledge gained was real for members of Seaford High School’s Mock Trial team, who advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the regional tournament, hosted by the New York State Bar Association.

After a successful trip through preliminary and intermediate rounds, Seaford’s team competed at the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola on March 20. This year’s team included seniors Angelina Brodie, Kieran Calderaro, Brianna Carnival, Grace Costello, Faith Schaefer, James Schoendorf, Emma Simcox and Erik Zhang.

Students argued in front of attorneys from the Nassau County Bar Association, who serve as judges for cases. Mock trial members took on the roles of attorneys and witnesses. It followed the format of a real court case with opening statements, witness questioning, the possibility of objections, closing statements and a verdict.

“You have to think on your feet and be prepared for the unexpected,” said Angelina, a mock trial member since ninth grade. “You can rehearse for the trial so many times, but you don’t know what the competition is going to do.”

On March 20, Seaford’s team was the prosecution in a fictitious case, in which a woman was charged with arson and accused of setting her own business on fire to collect insurance money. James played a witness that the defense tried to prove was actually the culprit.

“We all get so engaged in the trial,” said Emma, who gave the closing argument. “It’s a good experience. A number of us are thinking of going into law and this gives use a good idea of what we’re going to see in he future.”

Brianna said that after each trial is over, lawyers from the Bar Association meet with the team to give feedback. It was helpful to hear what they did well and where they could improve, she said.

Grace, one of Seaford Mock Trial’s presidents leading her fellow peers and helping them learn more about the court process was very rewarding.

“Not only was I able to help them, but in return I was also able to gain valuable insights about being a lawyer,” she said. “It is an experience I will always be grateful for, and I am so lucky to have had an amazing Mock Trial advisor as well as a cooperating lawyer who helped us through everything.”

Mock trial adviser Alexander Becker said it is a great experience for the students to argue in a real courtroom, dress as professionals and interact with law professionals.

“It’s all done at an extremely high level,” he said. “I cannot put into words how impress I am. They don’t seem like high school students when they’re in the court room. It felt like I was watching a real court case.”

Related Posts