Mock trial teams advancing to state level competition


Chris Hamilton

Desiree Barrera, Akins Mock Trial team member, testifies as a witness during a practice session before the district competition in November.

When members of Akins mock trial team go to compete, they are transformed into prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.

In a mock trial, students take on the roles of the judicial system and are evaluated in terms of how well they perform using the case information that is provided to them. In November, three teams from Akins won their respective district championship competitions and are advancing to the state competition, which was rescheduled to take place at the Texas State Capitol between April 21-24 after the Omicron COVID-19 surge in January caused a postponement.

During the district competition, the Akins teams won the judge verdicts in 11 out of the 12 rounds, and two students — Angelyna Huang and Kelsey Wood — competed as judges. Huang won top judge, and both qualified to compete at State.

Students who compete in mock trial are enrolled in the law pathway in the ABLLE Academy at Akins. Mock trial team members said that the law program and the mock trial competition has provided them with many benefits.

Junior Amber White said the program helps students make better decisions.

“I really like the sort of aspects of feeling that you’re actually in a trial,” she said. “You are an actual lawyer and you’re doing and trying a case and all of the things and the issues that come along.”

Huang said the program has allowed her to meet people who work as legal professionals.

“We meet many different lawyers like family law, juvenile law, criminal law, and they offer job opportunities and internships,” she said.

Huang said it is a challenging program, but it is worth it.

“The most difficult part I would say is learning the law itself and applying it,” she said. “So like doing opening statements, doing closing statements, knowing objections, things like that.”

Junior Skylar Han feels happy to spend time with her teammates.

“It’s awesome to be around people from the mock trial because everyone around me has the same goals.”

Junior Alishba Ali has played the role of an attorney for the past three years. She said one of the things she likes most about the program is its focus on community outreach.

“I believe we’re still planning on doing an immigration clinic to help the people in our community and those around us,” she said.