The following is an article written by Emma Skidmore for the last issue of the Lions’ Den, unpublished due to an error.
by Emma Skidmore
As the GS Mock Trial teams kicks off their season, they are facing changes outside of the courtroom. Former Coach Mrs. Elizabeth Simone has decided to step away, resigning as the advisor for the Mock Trial team.
Despite her absence, she is positive the team will continue to be successful.
“I think they’re [the team] going to be absolutely fine,” Mrs. Simone said. “They are more than prepared to go for it and the people who are going to be helping and coaching them are great. They’re more than capable.”
Simone chose to resign due to the time commitment clashing with her personal life.
“It literally comes down to time,” she said. “My husband got a new job and it’s an unpredictable schedule and we have to be able to pick up our five-year-old on time every day.”
However, the team was very understanding.
“They know how important my family is and because we were together so much last year, my daughter had to come to some of our practices so they knew that it was a bit of a struggle and they totally understood,” Simone said.
In the wake of a victorious season last year, she is very confident the team will continue to succeed without her.
“I don’t think the change in leadership will mean anything for their success,” Simone said. “Mock Trial is very subjective in the scoring and I literally never knew from trial to trial how things would go.”
Despite her faith in the team, she will miss aspects of being coach.
“I will miss the interaction with the students,” Simone said. “I’ll miss laughing with them.”
Through Mock Trial, she has formed relationships with students and the team has positively impacted her life.
“I love seeing how the skills that they built in Mock Trial like public speaking and questioning and thinking on your feet pay off in their careers,” Simone said.
Though she won’t be coach, she still wants to help the team.
“I will volunteer and I will help, but I don’t want to be in the way,” she said. “It’s possible that I would give feedback to something that the coach said and they need to listen to their coach.”
Similarly, students have a generally positive outlook on the change.
“I’m a little nervous because it’s a big change, and any change is scary,” senior Claire Simpson (front, second from right) said. “The new coaches seem really into it and ready to fill Mrs. Simone’s shoes.”
Simpson expressed her hopes for what the new coaches will do as well.
“I hope they push us to be better,” she said. “We have some major potential on our team but if we get cocky, it’s all over. They’ve got to keep us straight and humble.”
Simpson is still very enthusiastic for this season despite the changes.
“I hope we can really step it up to the next level,” she said. “We’re all really involved and ready to do serious work and have a great season.”
While other teammates may be more worried than others, she is confident in how they will ultimately respond to the change.
“I think we’ll handle it as we always do- as a team,” Simpson said.
Like Mrs. Simone, students feel that Mock Trial has had a positive impact on their life.
“Mock Trial has given me a great group of friends and it’s really fun to go into trial with them,” senior Johnny Stafford (back, leftmost) said. “Win or lose, we gain a lot of experience, but winning a trial is a huge accomplishment.”
This change may seem difficult to some, but the team is accustomed to new experiences.
“I understand that a new coach will probably need a little bit of time to understand everything, but for most of us as juniors, it was our first time on the team and we managed to win States,” Stafford said.
He believes that the seniors will have to take on leadership roles now more than ever, but that challenge will prove to be worth it.
“It might be difficult, but Mock Trial is always hard and that’s why we love it,” Stafford said.
The Mock Trial team will now be coached by Mr. Nick Diehl and Mrs. Kristen Solomon.
“The kids who do Mock Trial are really good kids, and our Mock Trial program is really special,” Mr. Diehl said. “Truthfully, it’s an honor for me to be involved.”
Mrs. Solomon wanted to help the team as much as possible.
“Former students approached me and I wanted to be helpful and I wanted to work with them again,” Solomon said.
Both new coaches are hoping to positively influence the team and help them to become even more successful.
“I think having an English background means I can help them develop the language in their arguments,” Diehl said.
Similarly, Solomon is looking to bring a fresh perspective to the team.
“I will give them encouragement and critique them to make them more confident for when they actually do compete,” she said.
Each coach is excited to work with the students and hoping for a successful year.
“The Mock Trial team has some phenomenal kids on the team,” Diehl said. “Most of being coach and a teacher is helping to pull out of kids what’s already there.”