Team of First-Time Competitors Make History for Maine-Endwell
The name “Maine-Endwell” might be familiar to you if you follow New York High School football. But the school’s mock trial team hopes to make its own mark as it prepares for its first ever trip to the statewide Mock Trial competition in Albany.
Last year’s team did not compete and there was no team at all during the pandemic. It’s been 12 years since Maine-Endwell made it to the regional level and this team is hungry to take home a state title.
What sets them apart from the other seven schools in the competition?
“It’s all of our first times. I’m really glad that this is all something that we get to share,” says Alexis Tokos. “We all collaborate very well. There’s no I in team and we take that very seriously. “
The students give all the credit to their coach, first year teacher Kortnee Gilmore. Even though she is new to the profession, she is a veteran competitor in Mock Trial.
“Ms. Gilmour has taken eight students who barely interacted ever and kind of put us together,” says Annastazia Alfarano. “Now we’re our own little chaotic, slightly dysfunctional family. I think we all have like our own place in each other’s lives.”
Meghan Smith agrees that the team is like a second family. “What’s gotten us this far is because we trust each other, and we all have a connection,” she says.
The team motto is “This is your courtroom- this is your case.” Daniel Morales and Liam Blanchard credit the motto and the experience with improving the team’s confidence, critical thinking and public speaking ability.
“I think that I’ve become far more well-spoken. I’ve been able to find the words a lot easier that I want to say and communicate my points like 1,000 times better than when I first started,” said Liam Blanchard.
Arianna Neal says the team’s success is getting it noticed. “I know a lot of my friends are like maybe I should join or come to some of the meetings next year and see what’s going on. So, we’re going to see a lot more involvement next year.”