At 6:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, the eighth-grade Mock Trial team loaded into a KO school van. After a two-hour study hall, the Mock Trial students were ready to get going. Their destination was Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
The Harvard Mock Trial Conference is usually meant for high schoolers, but the Middle School Wyverns are a remarkably strong team. Their prowess allows them to participate in the conference evenly with high school teams.
Mock Trial Faculty Advisor Lynne Levine said she is greatly impressed with the Middle Schoolers. “Because our team has done so well Mr. C. [Head Coach Ryan Costantini] has gotten permission to bring the eighth-graders, and it always seems to work out…. He makes it like a treat for the eighth-graders,” she said.
In 2013, the KO Middle School Mock Trial Team took their first trip to Harvard University. The team has participated in the event at the University annually since then. Harvard Mock Trial students teach seminars and coach individual teams to compete in a scrimmage against another team attending the conference. According to Mrs. Levine, the Harvard students are passionate, driven and helpful. That attitude greatly helped the KO Wyverns develop their Mock Trial skills.
KO students found the trip as a whole exciting and enjoyable. However, there were some highlights that everyone agrees made the trip a particularly valuable experience. These included the lectures, the Harvard students, the enchiladas, the ice cream social and talking to other Mock Trial students.
“We got to talk to other people that did Mock Trial from other states and other schools and that was really fun and fresh,” eighth-grader witness Hana Roggendorf said.
Maison Jobe, a Harvard freshman from Minnesota, was the Wyverns’ group leader. She helped the team come up with ideas for the scrimmage that was going to happen at the end of the weekend. She was patient, helpful and attentive, according to the eighth-graders.
“She was very effective in helping us review the case and find strategies for the lawyers,” Mrs. Levine said. “I really enjoyed her enthusiasm.”
The last portion of the conference was a scrimmage against a group of high schoolers from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since there were 11 roles in the scrimmage, each of the Mock Trial Wyverns was able to get a part. After the scrimmage, awards were bestowed upon the best lawyer and best witness. Eighth-grader lawyer Jordan DiMauro was named the best lawyer due to her relentless cross-examination of her witness.
Overall, this year’s trip to Harvard was a success. “I thought it was very successful, I think you all did a very good job, we probably had more kids new to Mock Trial this year than previous years, but everyone did really well and performed really strongly. I was very impressed,” Mr. Costantini said. He and Mrs. Levine said they look forward to another successful year.