Mock Trial enters competition season with strong and confident start


Photo courtesy of Erika Jiang

The Mock Trial team gathers at the San Mateo County Courthouse in Redwood City for their first official competition of the season.

Ana Lunaparra, Staff Reporter

After months of preparation, the Mock Trial team competed in its first official competition on Thursday, Jan. 26, held in-person at the San Mateo County Courthouse in Redwood City for the first time in three years. The first of three competitions in the regular season, the event introduced several students to a live court experience.  

“This was my first time speaking in a big court, so it was definitely nerve-racking,” sophomore Kacee Chan said. “To prepare, we had to write multiple drafts and get our student leaders to edit it. The scrimmages were scary at first because we were all new to this, but it got a lot better over time.”

Chan, a prosecution attorney, is in charge of delivering the team’s opening statement along with a direct examination of a prosecution witness and a cross-examination of a defense witness. 

“I think we were able to maintain the overall image very well,” Chan said. “We were able to keep our cool and not show any signs of nervousness. We were confident and set everything out with a lot of preparation.”

Thursday’s competition was a new experience for freshman Daisy Burruto as well, who is the closing attorney for the defense. 

“The competition was definitely hard,” Burruto said. “But our team performed really well and I’m really proud of how everyone did. We definitely have things to work on in the upcoming weeks as we continue to compete.”

The team has prepared since the fall for this season’s case, which centers around robbery.

“Overall, we did a really good job, but I think what we really want to work on is telling a story,” junior Keziah Gopalla said. “Mock trial is all about these eccentric characters, and that story is very important.”

Gopalla, who joined her freshman year, is now a club leader and helps ensure that the team is prepared for competitions. 

“At the beginning of the year there were a lot of new people, and I’m now seeing them do amazing things and be able to execute these examinations,” Gopalla said. “It’s very impressive.”

However, the team members most value the time they spend with each other during weekly meetings. 

“Our Tuesday meetings are really fun,” Chan said. “Before our first competition, one of our student leaders bought us a cake, and we all cut it with Mr. Chin and ate it after the scrimmage. It was a great way to end off before our first competition.”

The team looks forward to their next competitions, which will take place on Feb. 2 and 9. 

“This is my first in-person competition because the last two years it has been on Zoom, but I think that just makes it more exciting,” Gopalla said. “We’re all in the same boat.”