Ukiah High Mock Trial for the fourth year in a row has made it to the Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trial State Championship representing Mendocino County in the state-wide competition. We spoke with club leaders about the competition, the season, and the challenges ahead.
This year has been an uphill battle for the Ukiah High Mock Trial team. According to Benjamin Coletti co-president of the club, earlier in the year, there was a time when many quit the team and he and co-president Beatrix Holstine were not sure if they would be able to continue.
Coletti recalls a memory that took place after a meeting with the team: “there was a point where me and Trix after everyone else left, just sat, with our heads down in our hands, and we were just like oh my God what are we going to do?” He continued saying it was his lowest point during his four-year run in Mock Trial. It was not the team or leadership’s fault, it was simply just coming back from covid and trying to rebuild.
Regarding Ukiah High making it to the state competition, Holstine says that “it’s a symbol of our perseverance. Our student-led club has improved from year to year. While many clubs were deterred during the pandemic, we took the challenges of Zoom in stride.” She ends by commenting that the team has continued to work hard and perform up to a standard which led them to the state competition.
Teacher Advisor Matt Lafever mentioned that “Ukiah High is the champion of a small pond and is about to compete with the best.”
On the topic of the state competition, Holstine and Coletti both admit that their favorite memory in Mock Trial was their time at the state competition their freshman year in 2018. Holstine recalls her memories saying “we competed in four thrilling trials over the weekend, there were amazing teams competing there and we overall bonded as a team”.
While Holstine was reminiscing, Coletti recalled his favorite moment. “We were on the fourteenth or fifteenth floor of our hotel and out the window about two blocks away was the capitol and I think that was just a ‘we made it’ moment.”
Looking to the future Holstine encourages that “anyone interested in Mock Trial should try out!”. She says it may be challenging but it is a fulfilling activity. “If you are interested in law, social justice, or acting you would enjoy Mock Trial”.
Along with the thoughts of incoming members, Coletti provided encouragement for upcoming and current members climbing up the ladder, “focus on your presentation, if you don’t like public speaking don’t put yourself in that position. There are many different roles for different types of people. Lastly, I would say you should always listen in and focus when others are speaking so you can learn from them.”