McNary's mock trial club

Madisyn Caroll
November 16, 2021

The McNary Mock Trial club has been around for about four years, but it was originally an after school club with only a few members. Mrs.Delong has been the Mock Trials instructor since the start of the club, and she continues to stay very passionate about this club. 

This club has two mock trial tournaments happening throughout this school year; the Duckpond Showdown in early December and the regional tournament in February at the Lane County Courthouse. 

Unfortunately, if you had wished to compete in these mock trials, you cannot join in the middle due to preparation. Though there is always next year for anyone who would like to be in the action.

“Somebody couldn't jump into this 1.1.1. Club a week before a tournament and be able to compete, it’s just way too complex. It's something you kind of have to commit to choosing as your 1.1.1,” Delong said.

These mock trials are criminal trials, this is where students will argue in defense or prosecution while competing against another high school in the opposing role. Students will be judged on the quality of their skills as attorneys or as witnesses.

When preparing for a mock trial, it consists of practicing objection and questioning skills. They will read over a 200 page full case text, and read the witness statements that they’re provided with for the case.

“They have to look at the rules of a trial and learn what those are and that takes time. That takes a lot of time,” Delong said.

This club is one of many hands-on experiences at McNary that provides students with real world experiences as an attorney or witness. 

“Those types of experiences are really really important. Just like I think it’s really important to have the opportunity to learn about geometry by building,” Principal Jesperson said. 

Principal Jesperson had also mentioned that hands-on experiences in the school can look good on college applications and resumes.

Brooke Proctor, a student who had joined the club last year and was unable to compete in person due to covid restrictions, has said she enjoys the thrill and enthralling experience this club provides.

“I’ve gained so many skills from this club. It’s wonderful for me, as I'm a prospective law student. But in other ways, it’s broadened my ideas of the U.S. government systems in ways nothing else could,” Proctor said. 

Since the club had switched from an afterschool program to an organized class period, the club has gone through some special changes to grow with the progress of the club. Since the 1.1.1 period had begun, the club has grown in size from around 8 members to around 30. 

Additionally, when Mock Trial was an afterschool club, they had more flexibility to work longer with a practicing lawyer who helps with intricacies in the case they had been working on at the time. 

This group of students has found a way to turn a school activity into a good bonding experience that will last them a lifetime.

“In so many ways, I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids to work with me and study mock trial by my side. My life would be much more mundane without the invigorating energy that comes with being cross-examined,” Proctor said.