The verdict is in: Parkdale’s mock trial team is number one out of 30 schools and remains undefeated.
A mock trial is when a group, particularly in school, argues cases in a “mock”, or fake, court. Maryland Youth & The Law, an organization that teaches youth about the law to “foster an appreciation for the American Judicial System,” chooses a case for all schools, and each school argues the same case against each other. Parkdale has argued for both the defense and prosecution of the given case and has won their cases every time.
Senior Justina Blanco, the now opening lawyer of the defence and middle lawyer on prosecution, joined the team unexpectedly.
“I have always had a passion for politics and I wanted to go to law school,” said Blanco. So, when [teammate] Amanya [Paige] asked me to fill in as a lawyer during playoffs two years ago I was very excited. I have been on the team ever since.”
Although 10th grade English teacher Mr.Blake is new to coaching the team, he can already see the key to how his team remains undefeated.
“Dedication,” he explained. “It requires a long time commitment. You start practicing as early as September and it is now March and trials will continue after spring break. [That’s] about 8 months that requires perseverance, dedication, strong discipline, and they demonstrate that.”
Even before the mock trial group knew that they would become the team they are today, they still work hard together.
“We have done a lot of work together over the years,” said Blanco. “Most of us are in the IB program and are involved in Student Government [so] we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help each other reach our potential.”
Mock trials may be fun and help with learning about the American law system, but it can also help in a classroom.
“We can say that the skills you learn in the mock trial team will lead into what I call a transfer of learning,” said Mr.Blake.
He believes that what is learned through mock trial could make students better writers, thinkers, speakers, all skills that could transfer to multiple contents.
“[The skills] should make you a better English student, perhaps a better student of history, more analytical in your thinking which would apply across the board to all your other disciplines,” said Mr. Blake.
The mock trial team is now celebrating their success that they have earned through hard work.
“It feels great [and] honestly it was really unexpected,” said Blanco. “We do well every year but have never gotten this far. But we have put in a lot of work and have perfected what we do. It’s nice to see all that work pay off.”
As most of the team is seniors, the coaches, including Homeland Security teacher Ms. Thompson, hope to continue this winning streak with new participants next year.