By Joy Carino, Copy Editor for the Vision
You may have watched detective or police shows on television and seen court cases acted out on screen, but a group of MSMS juniors and seniors are doing similar things each Tuesday night in preparation for the Mississippi Mock Trial Competition. The MSMS Mock Trial team consists of students who take the year-long course taught by recently-elected Columbus District Attorney Scott Colom.
Many MSMS students join Mock Trial to learn about law or the processes behind court cases. However, junior Sam Williams learned that Mock Trial is also focused on learning the rules for Mock Trial competitions, public speaking techniques and court case terminology. Current MSMS seniors are determined to pass the Regionals Competition, which will be held on Jan. 30 in the Oxford courthouse. The MSMS team hopes to score enough points to make it to state competition which will take place in Jackson on Feb. 26 – 27.
For regionals, Mock Trial teams all over the state are to reenact a designated court case. Each team is randomly selected to stand as either the defense or the prosecution, so the MSMS class is divided into two teams who practice against each other, switching sides each week. Team captains are seniors Carly Sneed, Tiana Spivey and Arielle Hudson. Each team member has specific jobs such as lawyers or witnesses. Lawyers have to present an “Opening” to the case, which is scored on a scale of one to 10, and each portion of the case is also scored this way. Spivey speaks the opening for the Defense Side, and she said, “the opening is really important because that’s the first thing the judges will score to see. We have to work together to ensure that everything goes smoothly in the competition.”
Mock Trial is a challenging yet rewarding experiencing, according to Sneed, Spivey, and junior Williams. Spivey said Mock Trial “has been a great experience…challenging to keep up with.” Williams said he has had to practice “speaking at the right speed and volume because that’s difficult for some of us. You have to act in a way the person would act in that situation.” He described Mock Trial as “role playing but not the fun kind.” The most difficult parts of Mock Trial are the pressures on each student as they are often the only ones speaking in the courtroom, and each role must be memorized and played out appropriately.
Last year, the MSMS team advanced to the state competition. This year, the team hopes to advance to further to the national competition.