St. Al’s little lawyers honored at state mock trial

Published 4:09 pm Monday, March 10, 2014

A pair of St. Aloysius juniors were recognized as being two of the top five witnesses at the state mock trial competition last weekend.

Sarah Ruth Andrews and Katrinka Wayne were both selected for the job they did while serving as witnesses during the annual state competition held in Jackson each year.

Coach Le Brown lauded both students as well as the whole team.

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“That was a huge honor. We’re very proud of them,” she said. “They worked hard and did an amazing job. Everybody on our team did an amazing job, I’m very proud of all them.”

Though the team did not finish in the top six — only the top six of the 20 participating teams learn where they ranked — Brown said she was impressed with their performance.

“I thought they did much better than last year,” Brown said, alluding to the team’s first year of competition in 2013. “Frankly I was surprised they did not make the top six. It was a great lesson for them, in that it was a lot lke a real courtroom. Sometimes you think the case is going your way and then you find out it’s not.”

Brown, who is herself a former attorney who left the legal field to became a teacher at her alma mater, said the experience is important considering several of the six-team members are looking into a career in law.

“I really was glad they got an opportunity to experience a little reality of practicing law. A number of them are considering entering the legal profession,” she said. “When you don’t win, you can be very discouraged. You go in and feel like the law is on my side, I’ve got this down, but things are never that clear cut. The kids got to experience that.”

Brown said that, even for students not expecting to head to law school, the competition is beneficial.

“They get to stand up again and present their case and think on their feet. There are not a lot of things in high school like that, esp with standardized testing, where you have to think on your feet.”

Last year was the first time in more than 15 years that St. Aloysius had a mock trial team. Last year’s squad, comprised primarily of sophomores, made it to the state competition where they failed to finish in the top six.

Brown said that with three years of experience under their belts now, she expects them to be eager for next year’s competition.

“They are excited. They’re going to start again next year and it’ll be a whole new case. We get one more shot.

“Hey, just want a big gavel,” Brown added, referring to the three-foot gavel award given to teams finishing in the top six spots.

Brown said that she is particularly impressed with the team’s performance considering how involved all the students are in other extracurricular activities.

“I really can’t pinpoint anything I would do differently. They are all so involved in so many things. Every single person on the team is an athlete, they are all honor roll students and they are very involved in community service.

“Mock trial can be just one tiny part of what they do. In a perfect world, this would be their only activity and we could focus four hours a day, but for these kids it’s just not gonna happen. I wouldn’t change that for anything.”