Triumph Over Trials: The Mock Trial Team’s Road to the Top


Selena Feal

The Gables mock trial team carefully reviewing the judge’s critique in order to prepare for their upcoming competition.

As the mock trial competition season begins, the sound of gavels echoes through the courtroom and the pressure to win intensifies. But for one team, the journey to victory is more than just a competition: it is a triumph over the trials they have faced and a testament to the power of the dedication they have demonstrated throughout the school year.

Practicing every Tuesday after school until 6 p.m and every Saturday from 9 a.m to 1 p.m, the Coral Gables Senior High mock trial team has put in countless hours of preparation for the upcoming competition. Their efforts have been guided by their coach, Mr. Garcia, who has over 35 years of mock trial experience and a passion for helping students succeed.

“Mr. Garcia has been an essential part of our team, and we owe much of our success to him. His tireless dedication and years of experience have shaped us into the best possible team. He has gone above and beyond to ensure that we are as close to perfection as possible. It’s safe to say that we all value him immensely as our coach,” sophomore Paola Perdomo said.

Mock trial is a challenging competition that tests the skills of high school students in various aspects of the legal system. From preparing opening and closing statements to cross-examining witnesses, the competition requires a combination of critical thinking, public speaking and teamwork. The Gables mock trial team has been working tirelessly to refine their skills and demonstrate their best abilities on the competition floor.

The Mock trial team poses on their way out of their first day of competition. (Selena Feal)

“This year, we focused on a case involving second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. Some of us assumed roles as attorneys or witnesses, and the experience closely simulates an actual trial, although with a specified timeframe. The amount of preparation required for mock trial such as memorizing objections, cross-examinations, direct examinations, affidavits, and other related components is frequently underestimated,” junior Chrisondria Marks said.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, mainly not being able to compete in person, the team has not let this stop them from pursuing their goal of winning nationals. The team had their mock trial competition online in past years, but now they are back in the courtroom, ready to show their triumph.

“Due to the fact that the mock trial competition last year was entirely online, our team is considered to be rookies this year, as none of us have had the opportunity to participate in a physical competition before. Although we did our best to prepare ourselves, having prior experience can provide a significant advantage,” junior Dianie Gomez said. 

The Mock trial team practicing before their first trial of the day. (Selena Feal)

With their arguments and witnesses perfected, the team gave it their all. The excitement and nerves were palpable as the team walked in the James L. Knight Center on Feb. 28 and 29. Out of the multitude of schools that applied, only 20 were granted the privilege to compete, Gables being one of them. The competition spanned two days, with each school facing off one opponent in the morning and another in the afternoon.

The team began with a strong start, winning both rounds on the first day of the competition. However, the second day proved to be more challenging, with a tough first round that they managed to win. The final round was crucial as the team’s standing was 3-0, and this determined their eligibility to advance to the semi-finals and compete for the chance to enter the state competition. Despite giving it their all, the team fell short in the end.

“In my heart, mind and soul they are true champions,” Mr. Garcia said. 

Eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new case in October, the Mock trial team is awaiting the opportunity to prove themselves once again. With Garcia’s assistance, they are committed to growing tirelessly with an unwavering dedication to ensuring that justice is served.