The 21 teen prosecutors and defense lawyers from the Fayetteville-Manlius Mock Trial Team all prevailed May 17 in the New York Statewide Mock Trial Tournament Finals held in the James T. Foley Federal Courthouse in Albany. With Supreme Court Justice Michael C. Lynch presiding over the 9 a.m. match between the Onondaga County students and the team from the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, the F-M Hornets were victorious.
“They made it their mission to win mock trial state finals,” said team coach and social studies teacher Joseph Worm.
In a phone conversation from a rest stop on the return trip home from the state capital, the elated teacher said his students exceeded already high-held expectations.
“We wanted for them to perform the way we knew they could,” he said.
And, they did. His team received high marks for professionalism as they curbed all cross talking and whispering at counsel tables and kept their focus in front of them.
“They were glued to the proceedings at all times,” Worm said.
The Bronx team promised to be a challenge. Named for the third year by U.S. News & World Report as New York State’s top school, as well as 15th best in the nation, the 400 students of the High School of American Studies test into the humanities-centric public school and agree to study American history in chronological order. According to Worm, the team “really knew the Constitution and really knew the law.”
Maybe so, but the Hornets’ knowledge of procedure and their familiarity with the finer points of the fictitious case People v. Kelly Roberts led to their mock trial triumph.
“Our witnesses are what set us apart from other teams,” Worm said. “They don’t just play the part, they become the character.”
The Hornet legal counsel also recognized when their opponents were too loose with case findings and were commended by Justice Lynch, post proceeding, for their on-target objections to invention of facts.
“We were just so proud,” Worm said, referring to the shared response he had with the team’s legal advisor, and OCBA Board of Directors member and Sugarman Law Firm partner, Danielle M. Fogel, Esq. “After all the hours and hours and hours they put in, this is complete validation of their hard work.”
OCBA extends hearty congratulations to the following student lawyers: Payton Brewer, Mathieson Byer, Sophia Byer, Patrice Calancie, Matthew Crovella, Song Tao Guo, Connor Hargrove, David Haungs, Julie Howard, John Hrbac, Lauren Koss, Jordan Krouse, Nathan Montgomery, Zain Nichols, Grant Olick-Sutphen, Sarah Percoski, Sucheer Rao, Tyler VanBeveren, Richard Wang, Agatha Woodbury and Shawn Wu.