Mock Trial Team Makes a Strong Statement at Recent District Competition


Bailey Diamond

Witnesses and attorneys alike pose for a picture after winning their district competition. (L to R) Jack Sheldon, Claire Denning, Rieley Martin, Fiona Liu, Lenox Johnson, Fiona Jones

As of January 27, the North Atlanta Mock Trial Team has officially been named the number two team within the Atlanta school district. The team has worked tirelessly to achieve the momentous stepping stone and now advances even further toward what has been the product of hours upon hours of tireless dedication, time and energy. This honor has come as both a highly-anticipated and well-deserved reward for the team’s tireless work.

Competition day, team members arrived to the Fulton County Courthouse bright and early. After such a long period of preparation the team was nervous, yet eager to finally put their skill to to the test. The courthouse was nearly bursting at the seams with teams from throughout the area. Both tension, and heart rates were high as the crowded lobby filled with hopeful Atlanta-district students. “Seeing the other teams was kind of intimidating so I realized that I had a long day ahead of me,” said Mock Trial Team member Riley Martin.

As the day kicked off, the NAHS team split into its respective sides, prosecution and defense, and ventured into the belly of the beast, Round One. They were met with three qualified individuals from within the field of law as well as a judge currently serving in the state. The round commenced just as any trial would would. Attorneys made declamatory opening statements and witnesses gave unwavering testimony under oath. Things went smoothly for the NAHS team and they walked out of the courtroom feeling more confident and elated than ever. After a much needed lunch break, the team proceeded to Round Two. Aside from a few minor slip-ups, the team’s resolution was  unwavering. “I think that our team as a whole felt super confident after the first two rounds,” said Mock Trial Team member Fiona Liu. “Finally being in competition made me realize how far we’d come as a team.”

An award ceremony was held following the round in which first, second and third place, as well as awards for Outstanding Witnesses and Outstanding Attorneys, were to be announced. The room fell silent as names were read aloud. A total of five Outstanding Witness awards were presented to NAHS team members Fiona Jones, Leslie Goosby, Fiona Liu and Lenox Johnson. Outstanding Attorney awards were awarded to team member Sherwin McDonald and the team’s president Clarke Peoples. “I expected the award since I’ve gotten five before this one but either way I’m grateful and hopefully next competition I’ll get more ” explained Mock Trial Team member Leslie Goosby.

Soon after, third place was announced to be awarded to another team and the anticipation in the room grew higher than ever. The NAHS team crossed their fingers and were met with a pleasant surprise as the North Atlanta Team was announced to have placed second within the district. This meant that the team would participate in a “sudden death” round in which first and second place winners would compete for the first place slot. “I was so nervous sitting in the crowd waiting for the results” said Mock Trial Team member Claire Denning. “It was by far one of the most united moments we’ve had as a team.”

The round was won by the North Atlanta defense, yet ranking remained second place.

A big thanks is due to the teams teacher advisors and mentors Chantel Lowe, Amy Shilling and Dandra McPhail. They, along with lawyers Christian ? and ? Mosby, dedicated their time to practicing with the group, ensuring the team’s ultimate success and triumph at competition. “It’s always really cool to see how much creativity and dedication goes into the team” said teacher sponsor Amy Shilling, “I could really see the kids grow and succeed.”

All in all, the team could not be more proud of the achievement and the dedication they have devoted to Mock Trial. It is because of their tenacity that today the team has placed higher than ever before. North Atlanta looks forward to future years of Mock Trial and wishes them luck at Regional Competition.