Imperial Valley Press

SHS Mock Trial students reflect on their season


Both teams sat in the courtroom after conducting their closing statements, then the presiding judge gave their verdict. The first Mock Trial of many was over, and the students rejoiced.

Mock Trial is an academic program where students must prepare and present a case to a real judge based on a fictional scenario. It’s commonly referred to as a full-contact sport for smart people because students play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, bailiffs, and court clerks. The final trial between the two winning high school teams took place on Feb. 8, at the Imperial County courthouse on 939 Main Street.

Eli Moreno-Drew, coach of Southwest’s Mock Trial team for three years, described Mock Trial as “an exercise in practicing and delivering legal arguments.”

Southwest High School’s Mock Trial students said they felt relieved and pleased after their first trial.

“I felt good and most importantl­y proud of everybody that did their part,” Drew said.

Luciana Valenzuela, a junior who was a defense attorney, said she was initially nervous about the trial, but she was thrilled afterward. Valenzuela was previously in Mock Trial but participat­ed in online trials due to


“I felt nervous but in an excited way because of the fact it was in person and not online,” she said. “The idea of having it in person made me super excited and the atmosphere was full of energy right before it began. I felt very proud after the trial because my teammates not only did amazingly but they handled anything that came their way throughout the trial. I felt happy to finally experience my first in-person trial.”

Marisa Perez, a junior in the attorney role, said she was happy with her team.

“I was very happy and the team meshed well,” Perez said. “I felt everything fell into place.”

For some students in Mock Trial, this was their first experience in a trial. Annabella Lindberg, a sophomore with a witness role, said that right after the first trial she was already planning how to prepare for her next trial by reading over her witness statement to mentally prepare herself.

“I felt relieved and I also felt excited and happy,” she said.

The Mock Trial program will continue next year for the students to learn and further gain more experience in law.

“Everybody did their part,” Drew said. “I was very excited about some of the younger Mock Trial participan­ts.”

 ?? PHOTO STEPHANIE MINERVA VENEGAS ?? The Southwest Mock Trial Team poses in front of the El Centro courthouse on Feb.
PHOTO STEPHANIE MINERVA VENEGAS The Southwest Mock Trial Team poses in front of the El Centro courthouse on Feb.

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