For the first time ever, ECS had not only one but two teams in the Tennessee Bar Association Mock Trial Competition which was held at the Shelby County Courthouse. The teams had the opportunity to argue both the defense and the prosecution side of a mock trial case on two separate evenings. The student attorneys prepared and gave opening and closing statements at the beginning and end of the trial respectively, and they questioned their own and adverse witnesses on both direct and cross examination. The witnesses learned their lines and knew their scripts and performed exceptionally well.
The first team consisted of the following attorneys: Ben Agapos, Stephen Morris, Jonathan Morris, Cameron Rosenberger, Alex Salazar, and Jack Shelton. Our witnesses were Kuku Kumtor, Davis Rangi, Alden Rooker, and Catelyn Somogyi, Cameron Rosenberger and Ben Agapos also played witnesses the night they were not performing an attorney role. Walker Simpson served as the bailiff and timekeeper for the trial. Alternates on this team were Isaiah Price, Brandon Pittman, and Max Pleban. Both Jonathan Morris and Jack Shelton received awards for best attorney! Best witnesses were Davis Rangi and Cameron Rosenberger!
The second team consisted of the following attorneys: Andrew Agapos, Robert Gates, Luke Harris, Wyatt Higginbotham, Luke Pleban, and Christopher Wiseman. Witnesses were Charlie Crosby, Luke Harris, Kut Kut, Parker Pittman, and Jack Stephens. Luke Harris and Wyatt also served as witnesses. Blake Barnett served as the bailiff and timekeeper for the trial. Alternates on this team were Brandon Rogers and Cristian Salazar. Both Luke Harris and Luke Pleban received awards for best attorney, and best witness awards went to Wyatt Higginbotham and Luke Harris.
The ECS teams did a phenomenal job and exceeded all our expectations as they had only a short time to prepare and it was their first experience.
Mock trial at ECS was begun largely in part due to encouragement from Enrichment assistants Logan Garrison in the upper school and Nicole Vander Zwaag in the middle school. Then coaches (ECS parents) Matt Stephens, Michele Salazar, and Kerri Pleban took it and ran with it! Matt Stephens, practicing attorney, held practices in his law office in the evenings, found time to help prepare students on the weekends, and did everything possible to help these students succeed.
The Lord opened doors and enabled the students to get the work done and be prepared, and, despite our late involvement, our teams did not disappoint. As we went through the lengthy preparation process, Coach Salazar continually reminded the students of the verse she clung to as a young attorney: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
According the Mrs. Salazar, "ECS was involved in the competition this year primarily for just the experience, since it was our very first year and we got involved late in the game. Most of the other teams have been practicing for three months - we had only about three weeks to prepare. But try to tell an ECS student they are to do something just for the 'experience.' No, they want to do better than that - rather than do something just for the experience (not that there is anything wrong with that), they want to EXCEL!!! Accordingly, our students stepped up, put in the extra hours, met sometimes late at night to prepare, and in the process, made us all incredibly proud."
ECS Mock Trial Teams - well done! We look forward to see how well you compete next year!