School: Nānākuli High and Intermediate
Tutor(s): Allie Kaʻaloa
Driving Question: How can we use our research and communication skills to present a case at trial?
What did the students DO?
The goal of the Mock Trial Program is to “stimulate the minds of Hawaiʻi’s high school students so that they may acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation of the American legal system,” according to the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. The students act as attorneys, bailiffs, clerks, and witnesses. Those playing the roles of the attorneys must prepare opening and closing statements, cross-examine witnesses, and display their knowledge of the legal process and court systems. Students also spend time researching the case and practice communicating each role before trial.
During this mock trial season, the Nānākuli team gained 6 new team members. Tutor Allie Kaʻaloa shared her highlights of this season:
We improved our partnership with Nina Kī who works at the State of Hawaiʻi Court House, under Judge Toʻotoʻo. Through this partnership, we were able to meet judge Toʻotoʻo and he spoke with our students on the first night of the competition. Although we still didnʻt get a win this season, we came very close. Every week was 3-5 points shy of a win, which isnʻt bad for a team with only two returnees. As a coach, I was able to network with other coaches from Campbell High School and Pearl City. They gave me some great feedback as a coach and skills drills we can practice at school! I also met a former NHIS teacher at the courthouse, who extended his help to our team. The students got great feedback from the Campbell High School students, which was useful for our final competition against Punahou. Prior to COVID, one of our students was going to intern at the courthouse this summer with Nina (we hope that can happen once the State can safely reopen). On our bye week, Nina came to NHIS and brought the team pizza. She also shared about her experiences becoming a lawyer. She also gave us valuable insight into what a lawyer does
Place-Based Field Experiences/Connections
For the month of February, students take weekly trips to the Honolulu First District Court to present their trial against a competing high school team in front of a judge and audience. They also had guest speakers come in to give them feedback about their performance.