By Sarah Singleton
The Westminster Academy Mock Trial teams are an important part of the culture of the Upper School. A group of 9th through 12th grade students, chosen by audition and sorted into a Purple and a Gold Team, spend months preparing to compete in the district competition organized by the Tennessee Bar Association. This November, the civil case for this season was revealed to be a dispute between two competitive business owners: the plaintiff, Bryson Sailor, and the defendant, Drew Jennings, who was accused of battery by placing a screw in the plaintiff’s sandwich. Witnesses learned their affidavits and attorneys practiced cross examinations and closing arguments, and on February 3rd what some might describe as the most stressful and exciting week of the school year began. Monday and Tuesday night both the Purple and Gold teams competed well, securing 3rd and 6th seed in the district, respectively. Wednesday night is considered the first elimination round of the competition, and Westminster won in two courtrooms. Both teams moved forward to the quarter finals, with eight teams remaining in the competition. Thursday night both teams competed again as Plaintiff, and though both teams came prepared with their best arguments, Purple Team was promoted to the semi-finals and Gold Team was eliminated. Monday night, Purple Team came armed with well structured arguments and months of preparation, and lost narrowly in a very close round while Gold Team cheered them on from the jury box.
For Westminster Academy, a school which emphasizes a classical approach in the education of students, Mock Trial is a perfectly suited extracurricular opportunity. Classical education acknowledges the Trivium as a framework for the stages of learning, consisting of the accumulation of knowledge in the grammar school, the understanding of logic in middle school, and the use of rhetoric, in which knowledge is argued persuasively and logically, in high school. Essentially, Westminster students are consistently immersed in vast volumes of Western history and literature, and are then asked to eloquently and thoughtfully discuss these significant ideas. This early exposure to such profound ideas not only makes for a great education, but also for a solid foundation for the preparation, presentation, and argument involved in Mock Trial. Westminster’s teams are truly an aspect of the school in which we can take pride.