The Trial Must Go On


Emmi Highness, Writer

In a school year filled with uncertainty and many cancellations, the Helena High Mock Trial Club is still going strong. The Helena High Mock Trial team has spent February participating in regional competitions against Idaho teams, and the team will compete at the virtual state championship the first weekend of March. 


One of the biggest draws of Mock Trial is the trials themselves. Nothing gives you more experience to be a lawyer than being in an actual courtroom. Sadly, the courtrooms this year are just students’ bedrooms and classrooms.  


Despite being virtual this year, mock trial gained many new participants. From new freshman to upperclassmen, the club continues to grow and hopefully will create some future lawyers as a result. With this also being only the second year that Montana has had its own mock trial program, the addition of COVID-19 has unfortunately not allowed for the weekendlong state tournament that took place in-person at the Capital last yearHowever, the state is still taking place virtually on March 5th and 6th. Helena High was planning on sending their A team, who won state last year, to Nationals but it was unfortunately canceled as it takes place in April of every year. This year Nationals will also be held virtually and HHS is hoping for their second chance.  


Many returning Mock Trial students have also said that the overall courtroom experience is lost. Now, instead of having to get up in front of crowds, turning on webcams in front of a couple of fellow classmates is the new normal. But in every new situation, there is a silver lining: no one can see below your waist! The combination of blazers and button-downs on top coupled with sweats and sneakers on the bottom has been an enjoyable new element to mock trial and many other clubs this year. Student Council President and Mock Trial President Grace Johnson added, “Even though the environment [of mock trial] may be different, our competitive spirit is still the same.” 


 Students have had to learn to navigate everything that used to be in person in a whole new way. For instance, how do you approach a witness that is a city away and how do you hand them a piece of paper?  Isaac Nehring says, “there were some [technical] difficulties at first, but once you learn how to adapt, it’s not that different.”  


 At the beginning of the year, mock trial was strictly online with everyone at home. Fortunately, with State right around the corner, the club has been able to meet socially distanced with masks in their individual teams. This has really helped build the connection between team members, which is essential for good team collaboration,” Meghan Rake said 


Although every Mock Trial student wishes it was inperson this year, at the end of the day, the amazing legal experience along with the fun of the club is still there. It’s not just the experience but the people that keep the club thriving in these unprecedented times. HHS Mock Trial is always looking for new people to join, so whether you’re just looking for something new to try or think it will look good on a college application, talk to Mr. Askin and check out mock trial. And with any luck, next year will be even better for mock trial and all other clubs.