CB South Mock Trial is Back and Ready to Repeat 

The Central Bucks South Mock Trial 2021-2022 season is underway and the students in Mock Trial are ready to make another run to states. Last year, in February, they beat Merion Mercy in their regional trial to advance to the Pennsylvania Bar Association State Championships. This year, their goal is to get back to that spot, whether it be virtual or in-person. 

“I think the goal is always to get to states,” said senior Bobby Evans, Mock Trial Varsity Captain. “It`s hard to decide because we have a lot of new people on the team this year, but I`m very confident in their talent and I think with all the work that we put in we`re definitely going to have a very good chance at going to states.”  

Last year though, the CB South Mock Trial team left last season with numerous accolades. They were district champs, won their regional trials, and ended up as state finalists with a trophy to prove it.  

“It felt super good. Two years ago, my team got knocked out in the first round of districts, so being able to go to states was really cool,” said Bobby Evans. 

However, the experience at the PA State competition was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Normally the states are at Harrisburg, and we would get bussed down,” said Bobby Evans. “We would take a four-hour drive and we would stay there for the whole week, but it was virtual last year so it wasn`t ideal.” 

“We did get to miss school, that was cool, but the actual competition themselves were really good, the competition was great. We got knocked out in the second trial, but it was a really good competition, and I am very glad we went,” said Bobby Evans. There were a total of 230 teams in the state and South managed to be in the top 16, along with Evans winning best lawyer at the districts trials and the regional trials on the way there. 

These great performances came with the help of the advisors in Mrs. Brouda and Mrs. Shiwdarsan along with their coach, Mark E. Goldberg. Mr. Goldberg was even awarded the Bucks County Bar`s Community Service Award earlier this December. The advisors and coaches are clearly a big part of Mock Trial`s success. 

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but I didn’t really know what they do or anything and what I would do as a lawyer,” said Bobby Evans. “But in mock trial we have a lot of attorney advisors. They expose you to a lot of the stuff you do in the fields of law and it`s made me solidify that that`s what I want to do and get a better understanding of what I actually would do in law.” 

While they began last season with tryouts and acted as lawyers and witnesses in a simulated trial of a civil case that was about wrongful death, this year it was a little different. “The basic gist is we start out by giving someone a case and its based off a fairytale,” said Bobby Evans. “This year we did Goldilocks, and they`ll have to write an opening statement based on the case and they`ll be given a witness statement from a previous years case.” 

With so many activities and opportunities at CB South, it can be difficult for clubs to attract new members, especially ones that require lots of time and effort. 

However, Mock Trial at South did catch the attention of sophomore Kelly Salvatore, who is now a Varsity member on Mock Trial. She was on the 9th grade Unami Mock Trial team, but she joined South’s team because she “really liked how it was a team sort of thing and something that you could get better at and not necessarily need to run around. You could work on it, and you could just be with a group of people,” she said. 

“It`s kind of the only thing of its kind that you can really do in high school. I picked it because I wanted to do debate and I ended up really liking mock trial,” said Bobby, the Varsity Captain. 

The Mock Trial Summer boot camp was held in June this year, and students from 7th grade to 11th grade attended. “We were handed a trial at the beginning of the week and presented that trial on Thursday that same week with people that you didn’t know,” said Kelly Salvatore. “We just had to do it and it was interesting to say the least, but it was very fun, we did a lot of team-building activities in between then.” 

At the in-season boot camp in November though, it was just the South JV and Varsity team together getting tips from alumni and taking notes on the rules of evidence among other information about the season. “I was told that they carbo-load which is kind of fun, so now when we go to practice, I don`t usually eat a ton because there is always food there,” said Kelly Salvatore.  

She added that “It was a lot of information to get in a couple hours, but it was still very fun, and it was less intimidating than it made it sound by being called boot camp. It`s really not it is just like when people go over a syllabus in the beginning of the year, basically that`s what it was,” said Kelly. 

It is team events like these that Mock Trial has lots of and Bobby Evans, now in his third year of CB South Mock Trial, has experienced many of. “We will have a Friendsgiving, a secret Santa swap, a PowerPoint night, and we have already hung out outside a few times as a group. So, we always try to have a bunch of team bonding stuff outside of the actual practices, so we can work well together,” he said. 

The practices take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday said Kelly Salvatore, but later in the season it could amp up to twice a week. All this practice is meant to prepare for the upcoming trials, scrimmages, and invitationals throughout the course of the season. 

“We get the actual case that we argue in November, we got it on November 1st this year and it has everything we need in it, all the witness statements, all the evidence,” said Bobby Evans. “So, we plan out a timeline before the competitions start about when we have material due. So, our directs are going to be due today [December 2] and we`re going to practice them.” 

He added they will also “do directs, crosses, statements, and we have all those done ideally before January because January is the competition season. So, from November to January we write all our material and preparing,” said Bobby. 

With this variety of competitions, Mock Trial faces off against a variety of other schools as well. 

“At the invitationals we go up against a lot of bigger schools. The big competition is usually Roman Catholic High School, Wyoming Seminary, and Marian Mercy,” said Bobby. “In the district competition, those are the actual elimination tournaments, and those are where we go against the local teams like East and West.” 

The pressure of these trials can be a lot at times. Kelly Salvatore said she is “very intimidated.”

“Where I`m at I`m a witness you have to not be afraid to put yourself out there and really play this heightened version of yourself. So, it is very nerve-racking even if the people are amazing and they are not there to judge you, they are there to help, it is just very nerve-racking.” 

It is not all nervousness though because she is “also very excited to know what is going on and just to laugh because there is some other teams that we are hearing about, like Roman Catholic, they all have their jokes and I kind of want to have some of my own jokes,” said Kelly. 

“Roman Catholic High School is probably the closest to a big rivalry,” said Bobby. 

In the end though, it all generates lots of good memories from Mock Trial as Bobby Evans said his favorite memory is “When we found out we were going to states that was very exciting. I think the teams only been to states two other times in our over 10 years of experience. So, it was very exciting finding out we were going to states, even though it was virtual.” 

“We went bowling. I won the first round which was really fun,” said Kelly. Her favorite part about Mock Trial is “the people. Literally just the people. It feels like every Thursday it is like a Friday.” 

“It`s something to look forward to in the week, even if the rest of my week was like bad,” said Kelly Salvatore. “Even if we are all just don’t even get time to talk, we`re just working, it`s a really fun environment to just be with. Just such great personalities all over.” 

Bobby Evans favorite part about Mock Trial is “The closing statement. As a captain that’s the thing you do, usually it`s reserved for captains. I did it in 10th grade for some reason, but it`s really fun and a lot of it is on the fly which I like to do.” 

Unfortunately, Evans said he had to see some of his friends from last year leave to college as the varsity team lost six people. Lots of work has to be put in to overcome this, and “this year the characters are kind of out there, so we have to change a lot of things to make them more likeable,” said Bobby Evans. “Also just being more used to the virtual format because last year it was completely new to everyone, but this year we want to make sure that right out of that gate we`re performing at the states level we were last year.” 

Looking beyond this season, Mock Trial has “five or six sophomores in it right now which means that in a few years they are going to have a really strong senior class that is going to have a lot of experience”, said Bobby Evans. “I think now it is just showing them the dedication you put in and all the work you put in to show what it takes because it is not easy to do well. You have to practice a lot, so I think modelling that is going to be a goal.” 

Kelly Salvatore will be among those sophomores who will make up that strong senior class in a couple years. But for now, Kelly is just “Excited for it. I mean, they all went to states last year, so I have faith that we will do really well. I think we will do really well and have it in ourselves to go far, so hopefully we do even better at states than we did last year.”