HHS Mock Trial Team preparing their “case”

HHS Mock Trial Team members are  Lauren Markowski, Chiontee McGee, Markia Darby, Morgan Marlar, Molly McAdams, Amanda Lopez, Mireya Pulido, Sarah Rodriguez, Emma Baumheckel, Ricarnicea Johnson, Elesha Powell, Sumeur Pugh, Emily Pugh, Nikki Cummins, Pamela Castro, J. P. Barden, Kyle Sills, Reeves Garrett, Jay Clinton, Seth Tillman, Will Clinton, Walker Thornton and Demarcus Coney.
Mock Trial has taught students public speaking, critical thinking, and legal skills since the team was first started in the late 1980’s. Former Haywood High School teacher Vickie Nienaber started the team. Math teacher Eddie Keel has been the faculty sponsor since 1996. Many former mock trial members have entered the law profession. Two recent members are currently in law school. In fact, local attorney Michael Banks was on the first Haywood High School Mock Trial team.
The Tennessee High School Mock Trial competition is a public service project of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. Every November, case materials are released that teams use to prepare for regional competitions. Students are given affidavits, exhibits, case law, and other court documents. In addition, the Federal Rules of Evidence are modified for this competition, forcing student attorneys to learn how to make proper objections.
Every February, schools from across the state compete in regional competitions. Regional winners advance to the state competition held in Nashville. Haywood competes every year in Jackson. Haywood was the regional champion in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2009. Two years ago, Haywood’s mock trial team lost by a single point. Last year, Haywood’s team tied Dyersburg in the final round, but lost the competition by a tiebreaker.
For the past 10 years, local attorney Michael Banks has coached Haywood’s Mock Trial Team. In addition, Judge J. Roland Reid and others have assisted with the team’s Mock Trial Day, a practice completion performed for Haywood High School students. Students are anxiously awaiting the release of this year’s case materials. “I cannot wait to get started with this year’s case,” exclaimed junior Molly McAdams.
Here is what several four-year members have learned from involvement with this competition team:
Seth Tillman:  “Mock Trial has been a rewarding experience in high school. It has improved my memorization and public speaking skills. It has furthered my knowledge of the rules of the court system.”
Sumeur Pugh:  “I have learned how to work with others as a team and how to speak in front of a crowd.”
Jay Clinton:  “Mock Trial has given me both the confidence and ability to speak in front of a crowd. It has taught me the importance of a team. It has been one of the best experiences of my high school career.”
Lesha Powell:  “Being in mock trial has taught me responsibility and teamwork.”
Reeves Garrett:  “Mock trial has given me a firm grasp on our legal system and a greater appreciation for our government. It has been one of the best experiences of my time in high school.”
More information about mock trial can be found at the following web site:  http://www.tba.org/mocktrial/index.html. This season’s regional competition will take place in Jackson on Saturday, February 25.