Stella Zhang, Sophomore at La Jolla Country Day School
从小对法律感兴趣的我，得知我们学校有mock trial（模拟法庭）的时候，就决定要去试一试。当我第一天去到mock trial的教室，就发现事情不是我想象的那么美好。当时的我才来美国没多久，也才刚刚开始适应美国高中的生活，作为mock trial里唯一的中国人，第一天让我感觉孤单与无助。老师用大半节课为我们介绍了mock trial比赛是怎样的，以及每个角色在队伍里的作用，而我，几乎什么都没听懂。甚至在最后练习介绍的时候，我也是唯一一个说不顺的人，要知道，介绍是mock trial最简单的部分。
于是当我对这项活动几乎一无所知的时候，我迎来了面试。面试的结果也可想而知，不太好，所以我就这样进了JV (Junior Varsity) 的队伍。进了队里当然就要开始准备案子了，八十多页的案例书可不是说笑。当老师问我想做哪个证人的时候，我也是随便选了个觉得很酷的角色，法医。要是我当时知道法医是个专家证人，而且所有专家证人都要熟知其他证词，是整个队伍最重要的证人的话，我觉得我就不会选它了。所以我的mock trial的一年就这样迷迷糊糊的开始了。
之后便是漫长的为圣地亚哥县比赛的准备，和自己的律师一遍又一遍的过问题 — direct examination（己方律师对证人做的询问），也去找对方律师练习反诘问（cross examination）。我们甚至会咬着软木塞练习，因为它会让你发音更准确，这样你说的就会更清晰。比赛是分四天进行，最后一天有颁奖仪式。基本都是放学之后去到downtown的法院去比赛。那一周我过得昏昏沉沉，一面要准备比赛，另一面要做学校的功课。
对我来说，参加这项活动也许只是自己的兴趣，当然，也正是因为兴趣才使我在各种困境中坚持下来，我不能说mock trial很好玩，但我可以很肯定的告诉你，mock trial可以让你成长。团队很重要，记得有一次我因为有事情没有去社团，给老师发了邮件请假，本以为没什么事的我，晚上收到老师的回信，告诉我要通知自己的律师还有队伍，因为我的不出席很有可能打乱了大家的计划，所以从那之后我就明白了团队与自己的关系是怎样的紧密。阴差阳错的当了一年的法医让我爱上了当专家证人的感觉，大概是被虐了无数次之后的释然吧。mock trial建立的初衷是培养大家的公开演讲技巧，所以必然在这方面我有所提高，从开始的上台就开始紧张的发抖，到后来渐渐进入角色，轻松的做完自己的证词，甚至可以反驳对方律师，这中间我所经历的不仅仅是自己的努力，更重要的是整个团队的努力。记得当初那个连话都说不顺的小姑娘，如今大概也能独当一面了吧。有时候，我也会想明年我还要参加吗，朋友也会问我，明年你还要去吗，经历了这一整年，我的答案：当然要继续。我经常抱怨mock trial累，mock trial苦，老师还很严，但每次比完赛，或者出去参加完活动，我就又会觉得参加mock trial真好，认识他们真好。所以，明年见了，我的队伍。
Stella has always been interested in law. When she heard about the Mock Trial at school, she decided to give it a try. However, Mock Trial was different from what Stella was expecting. That was also when Stella first started studying in the U.S., being the only Chinese student in Mock Trial, she felt lonely and helpless. Her teacher spent most of the first class explaining the Mock Trial Competition and what are the roles of a team. Stella said she basically did not understand anything. At the end of her first class, each student needs to practice their introductions. Stella was having a hard time and felt bad since introduction is the easiest part of the Mock Trial.
Stella was then selected into the JV team and started studying an 80-page case. When asked what role does she wants to be? Stella picked forensic, the coolest role she thinks, not knowing that forensics are expert witnesses and how important this role is. She described her mock trial journey has started miserably.
Throughout the year, she faced different challenges and overcame all of them. At the beginning when preparing for a trial, she couldn’t even read from the script, there were terminologies she has not seen before. She thought to herself “I will do whatever I can to memorize the script even if I don’t understand it”, she didn’t want to be the one who drags the team down.
Participating in Mock Trial has kept Stella busy, especially when it comes to the San Diego County Competition. Stella spent so much time preparing for the competition, going back and forth with the questions with her team and trying to perfect her speaking skills. The competition was the longest 4 days ever and on the last day, the team was announced to be one of the top 10! Everyone was cheering and that was the moment when Stella fell in love with Mock Trial.
At first, she joined Mock Trial because she was interested, and it kept her from giving up. She wouldn’t say it was fun, but she has definitely learned from it. She learned about the importance of teamwork and “practice makes perfect”. Her public speaking skill has improved so much, from nervously fidgeting to now, where she is confident and able to defend herself, she thanks her and her teammate’s hard work.
She often thinks about if she wants to continue next year, and the answer is always yes. Although she often complains about how much work there is, how strict the teacher is, etc., every time when they return from a competition, she felt wonderful being a part of it and was glad she had the chance to work with her team.