As I look forward to welcoming my college kids home for Thanksgiving and preparing a feast to fortify them for exams, I look back with gratitude on all the blessings of the last year — not the least of which is joining the CCCE as Program Coordinator! A year ago I was busy finishing my own end-of-semester projects and studying for exams in the Meredith Paralegal program, having decided to switch careers after our youngest left for college. Little did I know that CCCE Co-Chair Rebecca Britton, whom I had gotten to know when my own mock trial team attended Nationals, would soon be contacting me to ask if I might be interested in this position. Would I!?! I jumped at the chance, as I had seen firsthand the tremendous positive impact of mock trial participation on the lives of my own team members — and in my own life. I was thrilled to be a part of providing this opportunity to students across North Carolina!
You’ve heard it said that the ideal job is one which you would do for free, because it doesn’t feel like work. In my position with the CCCE, I am thankful for the opportunity to meet so many outstanding students, teachers, and legal professionals through our interactions via email, phone, and in person. I enjoy helping teams negotiate the details of the program, developing new materials, supporting our wonderful volunteers, recruiting attorney advisors (“sharing the vision”), and assisting new teams as they embark on this adventure.
It is enormously gratifying to see the students grow in poise and self-confidence as they reap the fruits of all of their labors during competition. You can see the pride in the eyes of teachers and family members as the students accomplish much more than they ever dreamed possible. The skills the students develop — in communicating, reasoning, leading others, working together — and the deep friendships they form, will last long beyond the momentary “thrill of victory” or “agony of defeat.”
The dedication and selfless investment by hundreds of attorneys, judges, and paralegals in mentoring the teams and serving at competitions is also encouraging‚ proving the speciousness of society’s negative portrayals of the legal profession. I am inspired by these generous individuals and their willingness to mentor the students even after long days of working to ensure justice for those who need their aid. The vision and commitment of CCCE Co-Chairs Rebecca Britton and M. Gordon Widenhouse Jr., and the investments of the CCCE Board members and NCAJ Mock Trial Committee members, are truly remarkable; it is an honor to serve together with them in this endeavor!
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by the love of family and friends. And as you work diligently to prepare for the regional competition in February, I hope you will take a moment to thank those teachers, attorney advisors, and regional volunteers who work so tirelessly to make this program possible. I am very thankful for their service, which is such a blessing to so many!!