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Mock Trial Is Back and Better Than Ever At FHS!

Mock Trial members posing in the Bel Air Courthouse after their first win. Photo courtesy of Alyssa King.

After nearly five years, Fallston High School’s mock trial team is competing again with schools all across the region. The team, made up of eight members and advised by Mrs. King, had an impressive run, making it to the quarterfinals, but saw their season end in a loss to The Beth Tfiloh Dahan community school in the 3rd round of regionals. 

“I really like seeing how we all come together as a team in order to win the case,” said Angelina Velez, club president. Participants of the club must work together to prepare a case for the judge, question their witnesses, and object to the opposing side. As stated by Cole McCumbers, who is a lawyer for both sides, mock trial prepares students for “critical thinking, leadership, cooperativeness, and teamwork.” 

The first trials took place at Harford County circuit court, and then the team won and advanced to the Baltimore County circuit court. They consist of a real judge/attorney writing the case, overseeing the trial, and regulating points. Depending on a case, criminal or civil, each school is either the plaintiff or defense, each of which is made up of three witnesses and three lawyers. “It’s all timed so you only have five minutes for your opening statements… and 40 minutes to question people,” stated Mrs. King.  

There are quite a few rules applied to the competitors. If the trial goes overtime, for example, the team could lose points, and nobody can talk to the members while the trial takes place. As mentioned earlier, there are only eight members in the club, which makes it difficult to play all the roles of the trial. “Our members double down like Angelina Velez plays two witnesses, Mark Zaranski played a witness and a lawyer, Cole McCumbers is a lawyer on both sides…,” said Mrs. King. 

In the beginning, the team started out with minimal experience; however, with lots of practice and coaching from General Practice attorney Mr. Anthony Dipaula, a lawyer of 39 years, the Fallston High School mock trial team made a big comeback. He explained how rewarding it was to “watch [them] develop and improve as we went along, and next year the sky is the limit.” 

“We formed a group that is weird – none of us acknowledge it, but we loved it,” said Emma Callahan as she recalled her experience with the team. This club might be small in numbers, but they’re big in heart. They worked hard this season and have great potential in their future careers! 

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