The student news site of Maize Career Academy in Maize, Kansas.

Fusion by OneMaize Media

The student news site of Maize Career Academy in Maize, Kansas.

Fusion by OneMaize Media

The student news site of Maize Career Academy in Maize, Kansas.

Fusion by OneMaize Media

MHS Mock Trial Team

The attorneys are at the stand questioning the plaintiff. The plaintiff accuses the defendant of selling her a forged painting, and everyone has their own sides to the story. Two judges sit at the front of the courtroom waiting to hear the evidence that will determine the outcome of the case. The lawyers prepare to defend their clients.

A scene like this recently played out at Maize High School as more kids become interested in law.

The demand for lawyers is expected to keep rising as years go on, and a great way for students to get a look into the courtroom is the new mock trial team at Maize High. The team is coached by Richard Gilson, a history teacher at MHS, and two local attorneys, Andrew Chase and Roger Falk.

“We put on a full trial and we have student attorneys and student witnesses,” Gilson said. “Each round of competition, you have to be able to present either the plaintiff or the defense side.”

Gilson enjoys getting to watch the students learn how the court process works. The students also love this part of the competitions.

“I really like learning about court procedure right now,” senior Devin Short said.“That’s something that I might want to go into in my future, so getting the real world experience from real attorneys that come and coach the team.”

Students involved in other activities and teams get to use the skills they’ve learned throughout the court process.

“A lot of the kids who have expressed interest, they’re also in debate,” Gilson said. “They’re also in basketball, they’re also in the play or musical.”

“I’m in the normal debate program,” junior Isabella Browne said. “Whenever the debate coaches started the mock trial program, I thought ‘what the heck,’ and it’s a lot of fun, and it’s worth it.”

Browne was excited for the regional competition on February 24, and she wants to grow the team’s communication skills. These communication skills can extend to students going into lots of different careers.

“I hope that we can get a lot of people who want to go into public service,” Short said. “It’s not just about, ‘Do you want to be a lawyer?’ If you go into public service, especially social work, you’re going to have to know how to testify in court.”

While some students are on the mock trial team to explore career paths, some have more personal goals that they are striving for.

“I hope that this will help me be better about speaking in front of people,” sophomore Jordan Margrave said.

The best part for the coaches is watching the kids learn new skills and grow their knowledge in thecourtroom.

“Watching them learn how to really think critically and on their feet and knowing that questions could come from anywhere, and then how they handle that. That’s kind of the fun part,” Gilson said.

The team placed fifth overall at their competition, fourth in points, and they were the highest finishing 1st year team at their competition. Students can get more information on how to join the team next year by talking to Gilson or someone currently involved.

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