Mock Trial approaches the bench early at Nationals


Photo courtesy Tana Cambe

Moanalua High’s Mock Trial team repeated as state champions last month. It was their eleventh win in the past 13 years.

Na Hoku staff

The phrase “the early bird catches the worm” takes on new meaning this week as the Moanalua High School Mock Trial team competes at the national contest today through Saturday.  The competition this year remains virtual, and so to accommodate the East Coast starting time, the nine members need to be ready to start at 4:00 a.m.

“It will be a challenge to start so early,” Mock Trial Adviser and social studies teacher Tana Cambe said,” but the students know what to do.”

The team recently repeated as state champions, defeating Punahou School in the finals in April. The win marked their eleventh state title in the past 13 years.

Junior Tina Vo said after the team won, they received “a completely new case”–a teenager is killed by a self-driving vehicle–and “have only had a month to write the scripts and memorize them.” 

Vo, whose role in the trial is as an expert witness–in this case a safety engineer–explained that although schools receive the case mostly pre-written, teams are able to enhance their performances through characterization.

“You have to put emotion into it,” Vo explained.  “If you have an immigrant character, you can speak another language. Some people who can cry right there can do so.”

Senior Ryder Quon said he was not fazed by the early start or virtual nature of the trial.

“We did the past season that way, so this isn’t that different,” he said.

Quon acknowledged that the seniors on the team are winding down their careers as attorneys and witnesses, and are now focusing their efforts on the underclassmen.

“They are going to carry on the team next year, so we (seniors) want them to learn how to run the club (team).”

If the team wins on Thursday, they will have another match on Friday, and then finals on Saturday if necessary.

The other members of the team are Amanda Ibanez, Zephyr Tanigawa, Cole Wright, Sam Lewandowski, Aris Ancheta, Amy Pham, and Katie Ha.