According to a recent article in the News and Observer,* employers across North Carolina and the U.S. are seeking workers “who are good communicators, effective collaborators and creative problem solvers. Employers . . . can train employees to do the tasks they need; what they want are people who can learn and adapt easily.” Elaborating further, Madhu Beriwal, the president and CEO of a firm which specializes in emergency management and homeland security, explains that “It really comes down to the ability to think, the ability to form solutions.” Written and oral communication skills are key, she added. UNC Professor Dan Gitterman notes that “students must learn skills, including how to think critically and write independently, reason and communicate clearly.”
While students can certainly gain some of these skills through their normal high school coursework, the interactive, collaborative nature of high school mock trial provides an environment that is fun, challenging, and educational in ways that regular coursework cannot match. Listen to the words of a senior who graduated from Westchester Country Day School in High Point last May: “I have been a part of the Mock Trial program since my sophomore year. Mock Trial has affected me in many positive ways. I have developed strong leadership skills, the ability to think on my feet, and the ability to work with others around me. During practices and the competition, my skills have been tested and ultimately improved due to the rigorous training and experiences that Mock Trial has given me. One of the biggest changes I have seen is my newly discovered ability to lead others. [I have learned] how to draw people in and bring out their best not only in Mock Trial, but also in the classroom, and life in general. Because of Mock Trial, it is easy for me to help others when they are in need, or take the lead in a group and work together to complete a task.
“Mock Trial has also taught me to work and think on my feet. I am forced to get my points across while under pressure, and must be able to articulate a response within seconds. I have seen these skills pay off on tests, when I am giving a presentation in class, or when I am writing an essay. I find it easier now to express my thoughts and ideas and to improvise when I have lost my train of thought. These skills will prepare me for life in the business world where I will often be required to give presentations and speak in front of others. My years in Mock Trial have matured me. The program has been one of the highlights of my high school career, and has had one of the biggest impacts on me. I am a better person because of it.”
Every year, numerous students in the NCAJ High School Mock Trial program describe similar benefits from their participation in mock trial. If you would like more information about the program, check out our website or contact Program Coordinator Sue Johnson at SueHeathJohnson@gmail.com. We would love to help you get involved in “creating tomorrow’s leaders”!