Hassan Sayed ’15
This past Friday, 31 January, St. Edward High School unleashed its Green and Gold mock trial teams into the Cleveland district OCLRE Mock Trial Tournament at the Justice Center in Downtown Cleveland.
But while the Green Team was mostly set for the competition come the day of reckoning, the Gold Team faced an impossible dilemma. One of the two plaintiff attorneys required for the trial, John Kilbane, fell to illness, and would not be able to make it to the competition. In a last minute decision, junior Hassan Sayed had to step up from the role of backup witness to act as an attorney in place of John. But by the time of the trial on Friday, the Gold Team was fully prepared, and ready to swing into full action.
Dozens of teams from countless different schools compete at the district level of the OCLRE competition. Each team is divided into its plaintiff and defense sides. Each side goes up against the respective defense and plaintiff sides of an opposing school, and engages in a two hour trial. This year, the case involved a motion temporary restraining order filed by a school district (represented by the plaintiff) and a subsequent motion for TRO filed by the students of this school district (represented by the defense) relating to the students ability to protest this a corporate deal through multiple levels of demonstration in an exquisite melting pot of laws and Constitutional privileges. To advance to the next level of competition both the plaintiff and defense must win their respective trials against the other schools; if one side makes it and the other does not, it’s a no go for the team.
In the past few years, St. Edward’s mock trial teams have faced negative biases from judges and have been placed in strange situations that have made it significantly harder for them to progress beyond the District level; the last time a mock trial team from St. Ed’s made it to the Regional Competition was in 2011. And finally, after two well-fought battles against Orange City Schools and Padua, the Gold Team was able to make it to Regionals for the first time in three years. And while the Green Team was unable to make it to the next level, it should be noted that the team lost one trial by just one point and the other by very few points. This team, mostly comprised of freshmen, represents enormous potential for the future of the Mock Trial program at St. Ed’s. To move forward unified and honor the enormous efforts and commitment of both teams, the Green Team will be travelling to the Regional Competition with the Gold Team.
With Regionals looming ahead of the Gold Team in just under three weeks, there is still much progress to be made. Every member of the team must improve and build upon his role; attorneys must especially continue to improve arguments, questions, and statements, and witnesses need to become even more familiar with their materials and engage in better creating a character through the roles they play. But the victory of the Gold Team presents the opportunity to continue to move ever upwards and onwards towards as a team, ready to dive headfirst into the OCLRE Regional Competition, just waiting to achieve greatness.