I was wrong to be as anxious as I was for my mock trial kids. They were a little bit unpolished, but obviously far superior to their opponents tonight, and that’s what counts in this round. Yes, they could have made better objections than they did. Yes, they could have delivered smoother opening and closing arguments. And yes, they could have been more aggressive with a team of younger kids who didn’t really know how to conduct cross-examinations (well, one of them did, and she did a pretty good job). But somehow, they found a new student to come in at the very last minute to play the role of the defendant, and she did a marvelous job. She must be one of the aces of the drama club or something, because she absorbed the role and projected credible emotion on the witness stand. The “not guilty” verdict was a foregone conclusion (I don’t think the facts will get to a guilty verdict if there is even a halfway competent defense team in place) but that’s not the point — the point was that to my great relief, the kids stepped up and did what they needed to do. They’d have held their own against even a strong prosecution team. I’m proud of them.
Update: The results were announced Friday, Feb. 29. Not only did my kids win, they wound up seeded #3 overall. That puts them in the championship bracket, and their semi-final round has them again representing the defendant. Their opponent is the Catholic high school from which I graduated twenty years ago. This is going to be fun!