MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Montgomery County High School's mock trial team is celebrating a national championship win - one the students say they were not expecting.
High school senior and the mock trial team attorney, Shayna Garrett, says, "I don't think any of us truly expected that it would end with a national championship, but I think it showed how hard the team worked and also showed how bonded the team was."
Each season teams get one or two mock court cases, some of which inspired by real-life events. Students are divided into teams to advocate for the plaintiffs and defendants. Some students are attorneys, others are witnesses. Hours of work go into these competitions on top of schoolwork and other activities.
The team’s witness and high school senior, Caleb Cannoi, says, "Being able to study and learn a character, become a character and think on your feet, are the biggest skills I learned from being a witness on mock trial."
This is the first time that Montgomery County High School or any Kentucky school has won the National High School Mock Trial Championship.
Local attorney Ryan Allison has been coaching Montgomery County school teams for nearly a decade.
"As soon as we got back, one of the first texts I got from students were how they didn't have time to walk down the hallway because everybody was just talking to them and giving them pats on the back," he said.
Allison says he’s seen participants in mock trials go on to become law students and go into the legal profession. Others like Garrett and Cannoi choose not to.
"I'll be majoring in communication sciences and disorders to be a speech-language pathologist,” said Garrett.
Cannoi shared, "For right now I’m going into secondary education at Eastern Kentucky University."
These students say they learned so much from being a part of this team -- lessons they will carry into their professions.
"While I do have students that are now in law school - so many more tell me this program just helped me get better in all aspects," said Allison. "Public speaking, organization, and otherwise just being able to think on your feet."
These students continue to get recognition from various people in law, including other attorneys and even judges. Both students agree that the program teaches valuable life-skills, and they would recommend joining the team to anyone.