By Helen Zeidman
Taylor Edsel has been accused of burning down a factory with first-degree arson, and her fate is in the hand of Red Lion Area Senior High School students. The Mock Trial team has the task of proving Edsel’s, the character made up by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, innocence or guilt in the round of competitions in January.
The Mock Trial team is a collection of students who have a burning desire to learn more about law, public speaking, and rhetoric. Competitions let students pursue those ambitions by acting out trials, such as this year’s criminal case involving the suspected arson that burned down a factory.
“I joined last year because I kind of want to be a lawyer,” sophomore Katelyn Taylor said. “The coaches are awesome and I enjoyed it a lot last year.”
By Helen Zeidman
While most students stayed at home Jan. 27 to enjoy the snow day provided by winter storm Jonas, the Red Lion Mock Trial team plowed through the snow to meet at the Giant grocery store on Cape Horn Road.
The team huddled around the fireplace in the Giant cafe to perfect their case. Not even the din of a grocery store and its customers could distract them as they rehearsed in anticipation of their first competition.
The Mock Trial team is a group of students from all grades who participate in court-case situations. They compete in two preliminary competition rounds against teams from other York County schools. Ronda Vasellas, Mary Smith, and Rebecca Yoder are the advisers for the club.
Aspects of a real trial, including witnesses, attorneys, jurors and a judge were all incorporated in the program to make it as realistic as possible. The competition was even held in the York County Judicial Center.
This year’s competition was based on a civil case regarding the insurance policies of a nature preserve, where a drone caused the paralysis of a hunter. Every school had to create both the plaintiff and defense sides of the case.
Even though the competition took place in the courtroom, most of the work was done outside of school.
“It’s a lot of extra work. I’m in other clubs, but I don’t have to practice outside of school for them,” junior Jacklyn Golden said. “I need to practice [for Mock Trial] really thoroughly to fluently speak.”
In addition to practices after school at least once a week, the members of Mock Trial were expected to write their parts and memorize them on their own time.
All of their practice and hard work was put to the test during the team’s first competition on Feb. 1 against Dover by presenting the plaintiff side of the case.
The three attorneys for the first competition were junior Tori Austin, junior Emily Zeidman, and senior Makayla Cameron. Tori Austin was awarded recognition for the best advocate for the plaintiff side.
There were also three witnesses for each case, including sophomore Philip Zeidman, senior Charles Flaharty, and senior Chloe Fleming, who was given the recognition for the best witness for the plaintiff side.
Despite their strong opening and cohesive arguments, the Red Lion Mock Trial team was defeated during a close match against Dover. The jury of attorneys and prosecutors had the challenge to determine a winner between the teams and the vote ended in a hung jury with a tie of 3-3. In the end, Dover received the victory by a slim margin according to the point system.
Regardless of their previous case, the Red Lion team won their second competition against Kennard Dale’ They were presenting the defense side of the case, with junior William Dalby, junior Emily Zeidman, and freshman Katelyn Taylor as their attorneys. A strong opening by Dalby, revealing questionings by Taylor, and a persuasive closing by Zeidman led the way to the team’s victory.
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