In a year like no other, GAC once again proved that amazing things can happen with a little creativity. More than 150 schools in Georgia typically participate in Mock Trial competitions in county courthouses. When this year’s Georgia statewide competition was to be held virtually by Zoom, the GAC Mock Trial Team set up a socially-distanced courtroom on campus and got down to business. Over the course of six weeks this Winter, they remarkably produced nine (9) complete trials against other schools all over the state.
The 2021 case, provided by the State Bar of Georgia, involved a 15-year-old Sophomore who tragically died of a heart attack from the use of e-cigarettes. His parents sued the manufacturer and seller of the vaping products for negligence.
A mock trial team prepares and takes both sides of the case to competition. At each trial, teams earn points and constructive criticism from “jurors” who are real practicing attorneys and judges from across the Nation.
This season, the GAC Mock Trial program also surpassed its own advancement record by winning in both the preliminary rounds and mid-level rounds, ranking 23rd in the state, and advancing to the state finals rounds.
In addition, GAC students earned individual awards for performance during the trials.
Outstanding Attorney awards: Jena Vo (2 awards), Chloe Challas, and Sally Le
Outstanding Witness awards: Audrey Geib (2 awards) and Khariss Bender
Members of the Team:
Plaintiff – Seniors Audrey Geib, Vanessa Huynh, Jena Vo; Juniors Sally Le, Longiy Tsin; Sophomores Morgan Collins, Amir Barrie, Abbey Duke, Melissa Olvera-Torres, Bailey Solano
Defendant – Juniors Khariss Bender, Chloe Challas, Vincent Huynh, Lynn Sim; Sophomores Reagan Butts, Cecile Nguyen, Kaelin Thomas; Freshmen Akhil Sarikonda, Mya Velazquez, Ry Williams
Faculty Coaches: Mary Lynn Huett, Esq. and Gary Crane
Community coaches are local attorneys and judges who volunteer to work with the team and collectively spend hundreds of hours with GAC mock trial students throughout the season from September to March. Their dedication and contribution of time to GAC is invaluable to the program and the community.
Mock Trial is a competitive academic team that teaches public speaking, critical thinking, and the art of forming a persuasive, cohesive argument. The experience helps students learn courtroom procedures, rules of evidence, and gain a basic understanding of the legal mechanism through which society chooses to resolve many of its disputes. GAC Mock Trial students tend to leave for college more self-confident and armed with tools to solve complex problems.