Malden High’s Mock Trial Team Concludes Their Season

After many months of preparation and three rounds of performance, the Malden High Mock Trial team has finished their 2021-2022 competition season. 

The team did not make it past the preliminary rounds this season, winning two of the three trials they competed in. The first of which was against Methuen High, who they beat 96-82. After that was Pioneer Valley Performing Arts, which resulted in a score of 74-85, then the final trial against Thayer Academy, ending the season with a score of 83-82. 

Looking back on previous seasons, advisor Richard Tivnan noted his pride in the team. “I got a little spoiled a couple of years ago. We went on a little run where we would go to the regional tournament every year; we would win all the preliminary trials and we made it to the final 16 in the state. That is always my goal, but where we are at now compared to where we were last year, I am thrilled with how it went, to win two out of three, especially against two private schools.”

For senior Captain Armani Dure, this year was different. “My first year of Mock Trial, we had a civil case…and then the year after that we had a [case, but] it wasn't official: it wasn't given by the Massachusetts Bar Association, it was an independent person because COVID was happening, so this is my first year doing an actual criminal case from the Mass. Bar Association.”

The team started preparing for the competition back in September of 2021 by teaching the new members all the rules of Mock Trial. “I think we probably had one of the better years, if not the best year, of the new members picking it up very quickly. It is a lot to learn, there are a lot of different rules, procedures and all that stuff, but the new ones really picked up on it quickly,” Tivnan stated. He continued on by saying, “there is still obviously a lot of work to do, it takes years to learn how to do it, but with the new ones coming in, it was better than expected.”

Graphic by Lauren Mallett.

Dure’s primary goal for this year was to set the team up for success in the coming years. “I wanted to ensure that the sophomores we have would be able to come back and teach the younger people how to conduct themselves in a way that would ensure that we would get further in the tournament, and basically rebuild the team to a point where we could reach the top 16 in the state like we did a couple of years ago.”

Each member played a key role in the trial. “Yasmine, Christelle and Emma went toe to toe with the witnesses, they were awesome. After all the arguments are written and the questions are written and the rules are understood, it does become a performance. You kind of have to deliver it and make it look real and those kids did a really nice job on that,” Tivnan said.

Tivnan felt that “the results were better than I thought, especially after the last two years with COVID. Last year was a total disaster. They did everything they had to do, but we didn't have enough people.”

“Last year we had a lot of seniors leave, like Tonijoy Pimental and Jason Ashworth, and it was kind of hard. I was kind of scared going into this year because we didn't know how many people we were gonna get and how hard we were gonna have to work to catch everyone up,” Dure said. “I think that the sophomores that we got this year were very confident in the way they acted and they honestly went above my expectations and they performed at a level that I did not expect from them and, to be honest, were better than when I was a sophomore myself.”

Dure added that the team was “scattered” last year. “We had only a handful of people to perform and it made things very, very difficult to get everyone together. We had to pull in a lot of people from previous years who technically were not in the class to help out, and then this year again recovering from the fact that we had so few people was difficult in its own way.”

Overall, Tivnan feels good about the team's performance this year. “There was a lot to learn and they did great. I'm looking forward to the future.”

Dure has a similar sentiment: “I'm proud of them. I didn't know what to expect coming in so seeing everyone grow along the way and get better with objections and refine their performance…it was very warm to see everyone do their own thing and get better at their own performance…I think overall the team is in really good hands and I'm really excited to come back in the next couple of years and see these sophomores be seniors and try to get us further on in the competition, maybe to a spot that I personally haven't seen.”

Applications for the 2022-2023 school year have closed.

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