For the past two years, the mock trial team at Warren Area High School has fought hard to become district champions, making it to the final round each time.
"It was heartbreaking to say the least when we came up short both years," said Cody McGraw, the only three-year member currently on the team. "Each year we finished just shy of Fort LeBouef, which ultimately finished our season and put hours upon hours of hard work in the courtroom and classroom preparing for the competition to waste."
The Pennsylvania Bar Association hosts an annual Mock Trial competition that is separated into districts. The winner from each district who emerges from more than a dozen competing schools then proceeds to regionals, and finally the state championships. After that, every state winner is sent to the national championship which is in a different location each year.
Warren Area High School’s Mock Trial Team
The downside of putting hours of hard work into preparing is "one loss and your done for good," said McGraw.
Led by teacher and advisor Joe McClellan and attorney advisors Henry and Kristin Borger, the team has been practicing and preparing for competition since the middle of November, usually for two hours a meeting and five to six meetings a week.
Participation on the mock trial team offers students the opportunity to learn numerous skills.
Eric Zavinski, a junior at WAHS, attributes being on the team as enabling him to learn of "team-building skills, acting skills, as well as public-speaking and communication skills."
This year's team, with their acquired skills, successfully competed in the first round of district competition at the Erie Federal Courthouse last Tuesday. They now are proceeding to district playoffs and are scheduled to re-compete on Feb. 19.