Mock Trial enters 3rd year of competition

Cotter%27s+original+mock+trial+team+from+2017.++This+year%27s+team+will+be+the+3rd+to+compete.++Competitions+begin+in+January.
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Mock Trial enters 3rd year of competition

Cotter's original mock trial team from 2017.  This year's team will be the 3rd to compete.  Competitions begin in January.

Cotter's original mock trial team from 2017. This year's team will be the 3rd to compete. Competitions begin in January.

Cotter's original mock trial team from 2017. This year's team will be the 3rd to compete. Competitions begin in January.

Cotter's original mock trial team from 2017. This year's team will be the 3rd to compete. Competitions begin in January.

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 Mock trial has existed in the state of Minnesota since the early 1990s.  The 2019 season will be Cotter’s third year of competition.

Mr. Howard introduced the program to Cotter to provide another activity that crosses the boundaries between speech, debate, and theater.

Each year, one case is created for all schools to study and prepare for competition. Teams prepare a presentation of the case for both the prosecution/plaintiff side and the defense side.  

In each competition, three student attorneys run the trial by questioning the witnesses, both on their side and on their opponents’ side, and the witnesses respond while maintaining the character of the witness they represent.  Performances are scored, and the team with the higher score will win the round.

All these cases are created by the Minnesota State Bar Association and are sent to each participating school in mid-October. This year, Cotter has 19 students competing on two teams. As the leader, Mr. Howard organizes the team and assigns roles to participants, he also helps students develop their parts, by identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

In January and February, there will be five competitions, roughly one per week. Based on their performance, students have the opportunity to qualify for the state tournament, which will take place in Duluth at the end of February.  

As with any other activity, students prepare for these competitions in practices or rehearsals. These will typically consist of learning and practicing arguments for objections, preparing witnesses for possible changes in their testimony, and rehearsing opening and closing statements.

Most students join for the challenge, some join because of the head to head competitive nature of the activity, others out of curiosity.  

Mock trial requires that students be flexible and adaptive to changes, strategic thinkers, and strong theater performers. All of these skills help in many other parts of life.

For 2019, the third year of Cotter’s Mock Trial team, the team is attracting more students. The Chronicle will follow and update results from the upcoming competitions.  

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