SLC moot court
By nusrat afrin, '18
Moot Court is an oral debate where students compete against two other high schools. The Moot Court has been existing for the last 31 years in New York City. It’s a metropolitan mented competition and it acompasses all of the city high schools. Hillcrest has been involved in the Moot Court competition consecutively for the past 15 years.
Currently the Hillcrest Moot Court team consists of four members including three sophomores and one freshman. “Never before have we ever amassed a team that did not consist of juniors and seniors because the understanding of difficulty of the content of the competition,” said Mr. Cichon, Moot Court advisor.
Two members of different teams decide on which side of a Constitutional issue they want to represent. The side a member chooses is either to be for the petitioner, (person who appeals to the supreme court based on any amendment) or respondent (usually the government) which is a member on the behalf of the person on the issue they choose.
“While we are up there, we don’t really pay too much attention to the competitive aspects of it, it’s really just about trying to be persuasive in the case that you're presenting,” said Ashley Nelson, a first year Moot Court student. During the competition, the judges ask the members questions that should correlate to their issue and why they should find in favour either to reverse or affirm the lower court decision. “The debate is like a conversation but a conversation where the judges interrupt you and ask you questions and in some cases, they even might throw you off,” said Kiara Saez, a first year Moot Court member.
In order to prepare for the competition, the four members met up with lawyers every week who helped them review the case and prepare for questioning to know their cases and to be able to win an argument. “Even if you anticipate these questions, you’re still going to have to use your mind to formulate a plan in case you're asked a question which is not within the boundaries of what you studied for,” said Kervens Jasmin, a first year Moot Court student.
Rose Ismera, a current mentor for the Moot Court Team, stated that, “Mentoring the team is being like a coach to them in order to help them with both of their oral and written arguments and also to help them understand how to communicate themselves through that speech, and also through that debate.”
“The Moot Court Competition by far is one of the most difficult competitions which is why many high schools don’t compete,” said Mr. Cichon. Previously, Hillcrest had two students participating in the National High School Moot Court Competition which took Place in Washington D.C. including Rose Ismera and Alexter Thompson who will also be attending the International Moot Court Competition in the Netherlands this year.
“Past students have come back and told us how thankful they were about being involved in the Moot Court because it helped them a lot with their public speaking skills,” said Ms. Khan, Director of Public Service and Law. She also stated that “Moot Court teaches our students to act professionally and ethically in order to apply law to fact, to structure and rank a legal argument by strength and not a surt losing proportions.”