All Rise for OLP’s Mock Trial Team!
By: Ashley Yeatts ’20
You may have heard of the Mock Trial Team, or seen them running around campus in their suits, or maybe you have witnessed their crazy screams from room 101 after school. It is after all, the “room where it happens.”
Mock Trial is a competition that does exactly what is sounds; it is a mock trial. This organization includes teams having, witnesses, attorneys, questions, blazing crosses, and more. A typical Mock Trial team will consist of 6 attorneys, 3 for Defense and 3 for Prosecution, 8 witnesses, 4 for each side, 1 bailiff, and 1 time clerk.
This season, the team participated in numerous practices, attended scrimmages and tournaments, and ended the season with participating in the San Diego County competition. The County competition is comprised of four rounds with the Defense and Prosecution each competing two times in the span of one and a half weeks. This year, Team Academy of Our Lady of Peace placed 7th out of the 30 teams that participated and additionally, Diana Valenzuela (‘19) won the Outstanding Bailiff Award in all of San Diego County!
As the last season for Marsha Meyers (‘18) comes to a close, she said “Mock trial has been the center of my life the last four years, and is the reason I am motivated to continue my education toward a legal profession. I have developed the ability to lead, from a freshman understudy to this year as captain of the team. Beyond myself I have found a group of girls who are passionate beyond measure, and a best friend who I could not live without. Mock trial has fostered my pursuit of knowledge and given me the groundwork necessary to succeed far beyond OLP.”
Even though there are many different girls on this team, we all have on thing in common. A common love for Mock Trial and for each other. As Anitza Velazquez (‘18) said, “Mock trial has given one of the greatest gifts of my high school career. Having the ability to discern the career I want to pursue, make friends that will last a lifetime, and have mentors that taught me lessons that will follow me throughout my career. The feeling of being in a courtroom is inexplicable, but I can say that doing something I love, alongside a team that has become my family, is one of the best feelings in the world. I am proud to have been part of Mock Trial for four years.” And we can all agree that Mock Trial has been one of the greatest gifts we could imagine. For some of the team members, Mock Trial was not something they planned on doing. Alex Neves (‘18) reflected saying, “Mock Trial was never part of my plan of what I wanted to do at OLP, but it was the best accident that ever happened to me. I found my second family when I joined Mock Trial and I found out that I prefer the courtrooms over soccer fields.”
Over the years, girls on the Mock Trial team grow closer, and it is sad to give a send off to all the amazing Seniors that have contributed so much to the team. Mary Carmen, we will forever miss your sass that scorched your cross examiner as you responded to their questions. Lorena, your beautiful witness testimonies are ones for the books as you make all the scorers sympathize with you. Kiana, you never fail to be the first one to give an encouraging message and you finished the year strong as an amazing police officer. Carolina, you have displayed many talents as an amazing witness and attorney during your three years on Mock Trial. Alex, your ability to deliver convincing direct and cross examinations with authority and confidence is a lesson to all who watch you compete. Anitza, the eloquence of your opening statement and all of your knowledge you have of evidence rules and fact situations is commendable. Marsha, your energy never fails as you bring it home with your persuasive closing statements and, as a scorer once said, your “burning hot crosses”. And Diana, we’re glad you joined us this year and gave us so much support.
We had a record number of girls on our team this year. Our Senior roster included Carolina Borbon, Mary Carmen Castellanos, Marsha Meyers, Alex Neves, Lorena Ramirez Lopez, Daniela Velarde, Anitza Velazquez, and Kiana Yazdani. The Juniors on the team were Arahi Baloyan, Nicole Bruno, Valeria Chavez, Kaseba Chibweth, Anisah Enciso, Myeva Hanna, Kendall Ota, Diana Valenzuela, and Molly Winger. Our Sophomore team members were Maritza Chavez del Rio, Catalina Castro, Madelyn Chronister, Nicolette Frank, Jennel Manalo, Alex Pacheco Santana, Isela Quiñones, Cecy Reyes Flores, Kate Rickwa, Michelle Rickwa, and Ashley Yeatts. Last, but not least, our Frosh members this year were Karina Bedryj-Zapersnik, Anjali Paye, Presley Rayon, Lucia Ramirez Lopez, Alyse Saucedo, and Catherine Tamayo.
Mock Trial would not be the same without our moderator Ms. Nagem. Every week she welcomes us into her room ready to work, makes the team better, and is our biggest support system. On the days where AP homework piles high and sleep is scarce, Ms. Nagem is always the first one to tell us how proud of us she is, give us a knowing smile when we succeed, and pep talk us all out of any situation. We are also grateful to our attorney coaches, Jim Eischen and Luiey Haddad. Their guidance and encouragement are invaluable and we hope that they will continue to coach our team next year.