The mock trial team earned third place at the El Paso Regional Mock Trial Competition on February 5 and 6. The competition was held at the El Paso district courthouse.
Mock trial is a group of students that are provided with a hypothetical court case early in the year. They develop arguments for or against the case and present them at the competition in February. This year's team consisted of three defense lawyers, three plaintiff lawyers, and three witnesses. Depending on what the round required, either the defense or plaintiff groups would present, along with the witnesses. Team members include senior captain Celeste Collette, senior Christian Solis, juniors Michele DeRouen, Vanessa Ciocco, Adrian Torres, Amy Liano, Chris Edens, Anahi Perez, and Crystal Herrera. Sophomore members are Tobias Diaz and Ryan James Solis.
The team received a civil case in October, and has been practicing ever since. DeRouen, a first-year member, said that she feels that the time devoted to practicing was worth it in the end.
"It feels like all the time we spent practicing has paid off in a victory that we will treasure and remember forever, even after high school," DeRouen said.
Co-Sponsor Luisa Del Villar said that mock trial is not only about winning, but about giving students the opportunity to be exposed to world of law.
"It's about advancing to state and national levels, but even more importantly it is about the opportunity that the team gets when they're being mentored by attorneys three times a week and practicing at the courthouse," Del Villar said. “The experience they get out of mock trial is extremely valuable to their future."
Junior Adrian Torres said that the experiences have taught him many useful new skills and helped him meet new people.
"The primary mission of mock trial is to instill in students a new kind of analytical thought process," Torres said. "You begin to notice details, you become a much better arguer, and above all you gain a new set of friends who you grow with as a person."
DeRouen is also grateful for the opportunity to have made new friends within the mock trial group, and said that the practices went by faster because everyone was enjoying themselves.
"We are a very tight knit group of individuals," DeRouen said. "This was my first year and everyone welcomed me like an old friend. All of our practices went by so quickly because we were working as well as having a good time together as a team."
Ciocco explained how mock trial makes Eastwood stand out from other schools and shares some of the values that she has learned throughout the year.
"Eastwood benefits from mock trial because we can show the other schools that we have competitive aspects other than sports," Ciocco said. "It really shows Eastwood's diversity and flexibility. I truly learned patience, resilience, and gained maturity from this whole experience."
Although mock trial has completed their task for this school year, they are already preparing for their next competition in 2017.