Playing the role of prosecutor, seventh grader Luca S. ’29 gathers up her court papers and approaches the lectern. She begins her interrogation of medical expert Dr. Watson, a witness for the prosecution whose testimony will help make her case against the defendant. Lower School teacher and Mock Trial enthusiast Erin Rose Krizek steps over to coach Luca and the other prosecutors on the Middle School Mock Trial team, offering encouragement and a few pointers on how to cross-examine a witness.
Mock Trial is just one of the many Panther After School Enrichment (PASE) classes offered at San Domenico. Mock trials are simulations of trial proceedings, with students playing the roles of attorneys, witnesses, jury, and sometimes judge. They may be based on contemporary cases of interest to students, hypothetical situations, or historical events. This activity is an engaging and authentic way for students not only to learn about the legal system and careers within it, but also to develop persuasive argumentation skills, public speaking skills, teamwork abilities, and self-confidence.
“Our Mock members have been working hard preparing to try the case The State of California v. Allyn Funt,” explains Ms. Krizek, “with the charge of involuntary manslaughter being brought before the court in a jury trial. Students act as witnesses and attorneys, conducting direct and cross-examinations, as well as delivering opening and closing statements during the trial. It’s a valuable opportunity for students to learn about our judicial system while building valuable public speaking skills. Plus, it is so fun!”
Middle School students interested in signing up for Mock Trial can register for the winter session that begins November 30. Visit the Family Portal to find your link to PASE signups.