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Bonsall High School's Mock Trial club is a valuable program

The Mock Trial club has been a great experience for me at Bonsall High School. In fact, I have decided to go into law and have already been accepted at two schools, including UC Berkeley.

When I examine how Mock Trial has benefited me, the impact this club has had is shown through all areas of my life. When I was a freshman and deciding what clubs would be best for me, it was vastly different from what I was used to.

I thought it wouldn't hurt to try something out of my comfort zone. Because of this single decision, I discovered my love for law, improved my writing skills, and joined a dedicated community, all sharing that same passion for the legal world.

I have grown into a phenomenal writer and public speaker because of this program. The lessons taught to me in Mock Trial have helped me in my college classes, advocating for others, and presenting my ideas in a precise but diligent manner.

Mock trials have been the catalyst for countless opportunities in my life. If I could give one tip to anyone currently in high school or even college, it would be, “Don’t be afraid of new things. Try something new even if you won’t be the best at it.”

When I started Mock Trial during my freshman year, I failed tremendously. It would've been easier to walk away, but I wanted to stay, learn, and improve. The next year, I obtained a perfect score on my closing argument. Always strive to go beyond your comfort zone. A whole world of opportunity could just be one decision away!

What is Mock Trial?

Mock Trial is an English honors program at Bonsall High School that grants students of all grades the opportunity to explore the legal system. A Mock Trial is an organized competition recognized nationwide at the high school and college level.

Bonsall High School’s Mock Trial competitions are organized under the San Diego Mock Trial Association. Students are provided a fake case and tasked with taking the role of attorneys, witnesses, court clerks, timekeepers, and bailiffs.

Students within a team are divided into the defense and prosecution team but still work together to represent their school. Students practice criminal law and will receive cases ranging from manipulated fans committing battery on an influencer's behalf, to the alleged murder of a CEO of a family business. Students are given their case packets around October and go to court to compete against other teams in front of a real judge in February.

During competition month, both the defense and prosecution team will compete twice respectively. At the end of the season, students are scored based on their performance. The top two highest-scoring teams will compete against each other and the winner will move on to state-wide competition.

The San Diego Mock Trial Association has existed since 2007 and has worked tirelessly to provide students the opportunity to experience the rawest form of the legal system

How it started at Bonsall High School

In 2018, English teacher and licensed attorney Margret Armijo created one of the most fundamental clubs in Bonsall High School’s existence, in my opinion.

Armijo is a beloved teacher and has dedicated herself to facilitating the growth of the next generation of students. She has guided students academically and never stops to ensure her learning environment is safe and fun for those who preside within it.

Alongside Armijo, our attorney coach Jerrica Phillips has generously given her time, knowledge, and wisdom to help our club and students grow. Phillips joined the Bonsall Mock Trial team during 2020 and has finished her fourth year with us. She is a Supervising Deputy City Attorney and acts as a pillar of support for the club.

Armijo has acted as the advisor to class councils throughout the year whilst maintaining the integrity of her own club and classes. She’s more than just a teacher, she's a friend and beloved member of the Bonsall High School staff. She’s made the enormous sacrifice to dedicate hours out of her life every week to train, coach, and lead students during the club’s weekly meetings.

Benefit

Mock Trial provides a myriad of benefits to brave students wanting to get the most out of their high school experience. Mock Trial excels in sharpening public speaking, critical thinking, organization, quick thinking, and the ability to act under pressure.

Public speaking is a fear a lot of students have. It’s not uncommon and students shouldn’t feel bad for having it. Mock Trial is a fantastic opportunity to bring students outside of their comfort zone and allow them to gain experience working within a team.

When I and many other students started a Mock Trial, we weren’t at our best. It was something new which was scary, but opened up the chance for us to improve together as a team. It’s an extremely engaging club and has been the club of choice for the past three valedictorians.

I believe Mock Trial is a great benefit to students as they put the core subjects in practice and beyond, in an interesting and enriching way that could also help give them some direction for their future.

 

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