As the school year starts this upcoming week for many students, so do clubs and organizations within the school district.
One local teacher is doing his best to implement Mock Trial in almost every high school, here in the valley.
They’re calling it the Coachella Valley Mock Trial Boot Camp, where students from all over the valley are welcomed, to get a better understanding of what a mock trial is, and how it works.
“Essentially we’re gathering all the mock trial students throughout the Coachella Valley and ringing the bell and letting them know the mock trial season has begun.” says Dante Gomez, the La Quinta High School Mock Trial Attorney Coach.
It’s the first of its kind, a two day mock trial boot camp.
The first day was an interactive experience.
“We had the students observing real attorneys making arguments to a judge. Luckily for us, it was the same argument that was being made by various attorneys, so the students got to learn that every attorney presents differently, which was great.”
The students were able to walk through the courtroom, observe different settings, and ask questions as needed.
The second half of the boot camp was in-classroom training, with experienced professionals.
“We had AJ Dolan Bouchard, who is a local law professor here at the College Trial Academy. She’s also a criminal defense lawyer, sharing with us tips in point, that she does in her practice. We had District Attorney Sorensen, law clerk, Mr. Romero, local high school student here, who is essentially letting the kids know, again, tips and points of the mock trial process.” Gomez says.
With students gaining knowledge of topics, they weren’t aware of before attending the boot camp.
“Stuff like defense attorneys and prosecution and civil court and like criminal court.” says Mariah Walker, a student who attended the CV Mock Trial Boot Camp.
At the end of the day, there’s one main goal.
“What we’re hoping to do is create a mock trial program at every high school. Right now Shadow Hills is the only high school who does not have a mock trial class. I think this season that’s going to change. Eventually we’d like to actually have a mock trial team at every high school in the Coachella Valley.” Gomez says.