By Kris Leonhardt
STRATFORD — After placing first at the regional competition in Wisconsin Rapids, Stratford’s Mock Trial team advances to state competition, which will be held in Madison March 11 and 12.
Each year the Wisconsin State Bar Association devises a mock case in which school teams must present a prosecution and a defense. Teams range from six to 12 individuals, at least three students act as attorneys, and a minimum of three function as witnesses.
“Students then take the materials and prepare direct examination, cross examinations, opening and closing statements,” said attorney coach Kat Jackan. “At the competition one side of your team — either prosecution or defense — goes against the opposite side from another school.
“There are no juries but three local attorneys who act as judges for each round. Students are expected to know the rules of evidence and make objections during the mock trial. Students gain points and are scored on how well they present the case and gain major points for objecting and being able to argue objections.”
The top two teams from each region advance to the state competition, where there will be 24 teams total. This is the first time in school history that Stratford will contend at state.
“Stratford is one of the smallest schools that qualified for the state competition and was by far the smallest school at the regional competition. Other schools that were there were Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids, and Berlin,” added Jackan. “Looking at the other 23 teams that qualified for state, the majority have at least 1,000 kids enrolled.
“I have been with the team now for three years. When my co-coach and I first started, our team got dead last at regionals. The kids from that team are the same kids that took first place two years later.
“I think it is incredible that this little rural school was able to beat out the big schools that have much more resources and time to practice.”
Serving as coaches for the team are Jackan, Gavin Grubofski, Amanda Ley, and Sharon Theobald.