On the night of August 17, 2017, Charlie Quinn struck a K-9 police dog named MacGregor in the head with a broken beer bottle. Three days later, MacGregor died from excessive blood loss and head and body injuries. This gruesome event is the prompt that Eastern Christian’s new Mock Trial team is faced with.
The team will take this prompt to the New Jersey Mock Trial Competition, where they will face schools throughout the state. Led by adult leaders Mrs. Troast and Mr. Segreto, along with student president Emily Candela, have and will continue to prepare for the coming months.
The idea for this SOAR started with Emily Candela and Mrs. Troast last year. Emily says “Last year I was in US History 2 with Mrs. Troast and we did a debate. For my team, I kind of took charge and I was talking to Mrs. Troast about how in middle school I had a mock trial team. She said she had always wanted one and in the last two weeks, when it was just me and Mrs. Troast, we planned it. So we got the club charter and all the paperwork and got the papers and submitted it to Mrs. Schwab and got a few kids to come and they helped us finalize the club charter and get us legit.” However, despite weeks of planning, the first official meeting of the SOAR wasn’t until about halfway through the first quarter this year, and it only contained about 5 members in total. Now, just about a month later, the SOAR has more than its required amount of members, has registered for the official NJ Mock Trial competition and even has a mentor in the form of Mr. Segreto.
Speaking of Mr. Segreto, the father of senior Amanda and recent EC alumni Anthony his unique experience as a judge is offering members of the SOAR opportunities in the law field that few other kids can get. Junior member Jack Skywalker says, “Mr. Segreto is really helpful to us, especially if you are considering going into law in the future.” Additionally, Mrs. Troast’s passion for the topic and general knowledge helps prepare the SOAR as more of an organizer, who is also available 24/7 and does a ton of behind the scenes work for the SOAR. Jack says, “As for the adult leaders, Mr. Segreto is more of a resource and a way to prepare us because we haven’t really done this before. Mrs. Troast is more of the organizer putting everything together and the leader of the club.”
The competition won’t begin until 2020, but the Mock Trial team is already preparing for the first round against another school that is yet to be determined. They will be assigned in either prosecution or defense of Charlie Quinn in a few weeks and will continue to change sides as long as they keep winning. There will be official and certified judges and scorers at the trial, which will include schools from all over New Jersey.
Despite this pressure, the team is seemingly calm and confident as they prepare for the challenge that awaits them. As Jack says “I think we’re going to kill it at the competition and we’re going to do our best for our school”.