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Best of the Week 2020-2021: Teaching to the Future


St. Ed's Mock Trial Team is currently competing in a day-long OCLRE District Competition virtually through Zoom on St. Ed's campus. This is the first time students have had to compete outside of the traditional courtroom, taking the steps to adapt to new procedures and protocols to compete not just with local districts, but with over 3,000 students from across the state of Ohio. "Our teams are just happy there's an opportunity for them to compete this year, whether they are learning remotely or able to attend the competition with their teammates in person at St. Ed's," says Mock Trial moderator and Social Studies Department Chair Suzanne Fairfield. "Our students have been working really hard and have been so flexible with all the hiccups that we've faced along the way. For this competition tradition to continue, they are just so grateful to have this opportunity." "The best part of my senior season on Mock Trial has simply been the fact that we are able to continue to work together in person to get better and get ready for our trial," says Jack O'Brien '21. "The biggest challenge was the fact that we started late due to COVID-19, so we had to work very hard to pick back up after the time we lost, and our team did just that. Now we are prepared and ready for competition, and honestly have probably done more work this year than I have in any of my other three years." "Both team camaraderie and intellectual challenges presented by this year's case materials have made this Mock Trial season especially enjoyable," says Michael Pattee '22. "While our team has had to adjust to performing virtually, it has made us stronger as a whole and taught us to learn to adapt to any situation." Under the guidance of five Mock Trial moderators and 12 legal advisors, ranging from alums to members of the legal community, students have been practicing their best strategies to compete virtually. Losing the physical aspect of competitions and losing the ability to read facial expressions and reactions, students have made psychological adjustments for how to analyze content and deliver their legal arguments virtually, taking into account that judging, timekeeping, and traditional courtroom procedures are all being done electronically. "Part of our innovation this year was trying to get as many guys involved as possible, even though the number of teams were limited. In the past, we had as many as five teams, but this year's competition was limited to three," says Mock Trial moderator and Math Department Chair Brendan Ryan. "By running extra teams in scrimmages, we were able to maximize the number of times guys could compete. This required a true team effort on the students' part from coordination and preparation to their individual sacrifices and I'm especially proud of the way those in supporting roles have continued to focus on the whole team." "Overall, like everything else, it has been a weird year where we've had to meet with our legal advisors virtually over Google Hangouts or Zoom and have had to be creative in how we use technology," says Mock Trial moderator and Campus Minister Cari White. "Our students have really stepped up and embraced the challenges, often using them to their advantage and thriving in their efforts." "In an online-only climate, Mock Trial, like many other things in our lives today, has changed dramatically," says Ian Fairfield '22. "Overcoming the challenges of online, however, have only made our team better at thinking on our feet, problem-solving, and adapting to anything and everything. It has definitely added a great amount of resilience to our team and I truly believe the Mock Trial program at St. Ed's is better for it."


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