By: Sarah Danley
Whittling down the competition one trial at a time, GS’ Mock Trial team argued its way to the Mock Trial Regional Competition. After making it to the Mock Trial States Competition last year, returning team members were excited to have another opportunity to make it there again.
“The most exciting thing about making it to County Regionals is having an opportunity to go to States two years in a row,” senior Nevaeh Cobaugh said. “And taking the trophy from Penn Trafford.”
After defeating their rivals in the race to Regionals, members were thankful all their hard work paid off, despite falling short of making it back to the State Competition this year.
“The best part is seeing all the effort pay off,” junior Rachel Leo said. “It’s really just the fruits of all our efforts.”
In front of a panel of professional attorneys from Westmoreland County, mock trial teams must do their best to set themselves apart from their opponents. Factors such as dedication, determination and a wide variety of personalities allow GS to stand out from the competition.
“Our team is very dynamic,” head coach Mrs. Kristen Solomon said. “We have a lot of different personalities and skills that set us apart from other mock trial teams.”
Student attorneys also viewed their determination as a reason for their success throughout the mock trial events.
“As a team, we are really determined and work hard,” Cobaugh said. “We are able to take feedback and make improvements from that.”
Along with their fierce determination, one of the largest factors that contributed to GS’ success was the dedication Mrs. Solomon saw from each of the ten members.
“Our team works nonstop,” Solomon said. “Each one of them puts in a lot of hours. We even practice on Saturday mornings.”
With all the time dedicated to perfecting their trial cases, even student attorneys were able to watch as all their hard work paid off during their mock trial season.
“Hard work actually does pay off,” Cobaugh said. “8 a.m. practices on Saturdays really put me to work.”
Having a dedicated Mock Trial class that students can schedule beginning in sophomore year is another large factor that sets GS apart from opponents.
“If we didn’t have [Mock Trial] as a class, we wouldn’t be as good as we are,” Cobaugh noted.
Student attorneys attributed most of their success to the coaching and extra time Solomon has contributed to make the team as successful as possible.
“I don’t know exactly what other schools are like, but Mrs. Solomon is a really big part of what sets us apart,” Leo said. “She does everything she can to make us better and puts in a lot of work outside of school for us.”
As the student attorneys saw the commitment Solomon displayed each and every day, she expected the same dedication and determination from each member.
“They have to be committed to the team and dependable, natural leaders that take initiative,” Solomon said. “We also need people with character and personality, who like to act for character witnesses. Our team also must memorize and know everything and be strategic and analytical when using the information.”
Throughout the class and practices outside of school, Solomon watched the student attorneys as their friendships grew with one another, strengthening the bond of their team. Leo attributed this as another reason GS’ team was successful in their cases as well.
“Any time you spend so much time with people, you get a lot closer,” Leo said.
Being a member of the team also brought students together who would not normally hang out together without the class and organization.
“I was able to get close to people in other grades that I don’t typically talk to,” Cobaugh said. “We all got really close.”
Along with growing as friends and growing as a coherent team, student attorneys watched as they grew into themselves and developed more confidence throughout this experience. Leo expressed that she developed new skills like public speaking and working with a team from being a member of Mock Trial.
“I am very happy for them,” Solomon said. “They’ve become a little family and definitely deserve to be making Regionals.”