Conard High School Mock Trial Update
By: Andrew Maglio
At Conard, we are fortunate to have an extremely diverse genre of clubs, ranging from Model UN to Ping Pong Club to our very own Conard Courant. Mock Trial, one of the oldest extracurriculars at the school is one such example of a student-run organization that the culture here at Conard has helped to cultivate into a long-standing tradition of success in competition. Starting well before the school year, co-Captains Arianna Fandozzi and Eleanor Khan began preparations for this year’s case. Participating in the annual Civics First High School Mock Trial Competition, Conard is up against dozens of other schools from across the state, representing lawyers and witnesses in a role-play court scenario that some might mistake for a real trial.
The case this year is a civil one- like last year- where student-athlete Neil Roberts overdoses and dies from erythropoietin. His mother, Taylor Roberts is suing the school for negligence, claiming that the school was at fault for his death.
Already, Conard has completed the first round of competition (and advanced to the next one)! On December 16th, 2019 and Friday of the week prior, Conard’s plaintiff and defense sides competed against both Cheshire teams and reigned victorious at the end of the two trials. Ally Berstein-Naples, a sophomore and attorney for the Defense attributes their success to the “excellent communication between attorneys and their witnesses and attorneys among themselves.” Now, they move on to the second (quarter-finals) round where they’ll be facing another school (still undecided).
The team practices two to three days each week, meeting for two hours each time where they question witnesses, critique their lawyers, and work to perfect their craft. The commitment is undeniably a large one, but the practice is showing in competition and for many, this is a great way to refine academic and professional skills they’ll carry through their careers. As they prepare for the coming trial ahead (literally), Co-captain Arianna Fandozzi remarked in an interview, “We’re all working really hard right now to really just perfect our material so we can be ready for the competition in February.” As the team continues their intense preparation, they are also training new members as several of Conard’s finest will not be able to participate in the next round of competition due to scheduling conflicts.
On February 7th Conard Mock Trial will compete again, this time at Hartford Superior Court, hoping to move on to the semi-final round.