Raising The Bar " EVHS Mock Trial Team
Eagle Valley High School students this year had the opportunity to learn about the legal profession and start their first-ever mock trial team.
The seniors on the team ” Bobbi Ray, Chad Brower and Brian Gonzales ” say the experience left them with more knowledge and a better understanding of the challenges of the legal profession.
“To be successful as a mock trial team, it takes the dedication of the students and coaches,” says Glenwood Springs attorney Charlie Willman, who helps with the state champion Glenwood Springs High School team. Willman says that the time and efforts of the students make all the difference for a competitive mock trial team.
“The bottom line is a lot of hard work by the students with the dedicated help of the coaches is key,” Willman says.
EVHS’s mock trial team placed fourth at state ” impressive for a first-year team. Rob Sperberg, an Avon attorney and team coach, organized the seven students on the team.
Brower, Ray and Gonzales agree that the experience was positive.
“I liked the whole court experience and the experience of being an attorney,” Gonzales says. “The hardest part was preparing your case, especially at the end, where refining your case is so important.”
Having an inquisitive mind helps, says Eagle Valley High School teacher Bob Zimmerman. “Brian was a great kid to have in class. He asked good questions and enjoyed learning new things.”
Students learn about every aspect of the trial process, including the rules of evidence and structure of a trial. They study witness statements, and then investigate the actual facts. Students are required to prepare to defend or prosecute a case, since they don’t learn which side they are representing until right before the trial. Team members also learn statutory and case law.
“These students were dedicated,” Spergerg says. “They put in a lot of time and displayed great attitudes.” Sperberg also credits local attorneys Lisa Hunt and John Clune for their time and involvement with the mock trial team.
Ray says she’s always wanted to be an attorney, but she never really knew why.
“The coolest thing was that it got us to know what it was like to be a lawyer,” she says.
Ray’s post-graduation plan is to study business at the University of Colorado in the fall. Then, she’ll attend Denver University to pursue a law degree.
Eagle Valley teacher Cliff Zehring says of Ray: “It has been a lot of fun having Bobbi in my math classes. She is a student who works hard but is able to laugh at things that are funny.”
Brower went to check out the mock trial process after high school counselor Anne Leavitt suggested it to him.
“The best part for me were the trial competitions and acting those out,” says Brower, who will study advertising and marketing at Northwood University in Dallas next fall.
“Chad is that rare student who is constantly seeking an enlightened way of viewing his world,” says Eagle Valley High School teacher Chuck Vogel. “He is a sponge, yet as he is soaking up information, he is also evaluating it, criticizing it, expanding his horizons. For instance, I took a day to cover Abraham Maslow’s psychology in class. Chad found the theories intensely interesting. Consequently, he sought out Maslow’s books. And unlike many students whose interests wane with time, he persevered and read them all. No grade was attached to this endeavor, only the sheer joy of pursuing an interest, a difficult one at that, doggedly. For Chad, virtue is, indeed, its own reward,” Vogel says.
“These students were really motivated,” Hunt says. “They were willing to take risks during practices, and they quickly learned the legal issues.”
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