Our Empire SF Experience
by Judy Gong & Maheen Summary
5 months of preparation
3 amazing coaches
2 days of competing
1 mock trial family
From November 20th – 25th, the Gordon Graydon Mock Trial Team travelled to San Francisco to compete at the Empire International Mock Trial Competition. When we got accepted for the competition, we were ecstatic and nervous. We worked hard all over the summer and before we knew it, the big day had arrived.
November 21st was the opening ceremony—students had a chance to meet the rest of the Empire family at the beautiful San Francisco City Hall, and our very own Madeline Paiva sang the Canadian National Anthem to represent our school and Canada in this competition (see below for her lovely presentation).
We then competed through 4 trials (2 per day). Each trial was 3 hours long and needless to say, we were exhausted yet so excited at the same time. The competition was at the highest calibre we had ever experienced—with top teams from Korea, Hong Kong, the UK, and the United States of America. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to compete “against” a team from each of these different nations.
The experience was phenomenal. Each and every team put up a great challenge—I distinctly remember one trial where all of us kept getting objected to and we were literally sinking into our seats hoping it would end. Although it seemed like a terrible and painstaking three hours, we walked out of that courtroom with new lessons learned, new friendships forged, and emerged as better equipped leaders, speakers, and critical thinkers.
For us though, mock trial has always meant something so much greater than a simple courtroom case competition or an after-school club to put on a resume. The true value of participating in mock trial extends just so much further than that. The mock trial team at Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School is not merely just a group of students—we are team, a family of distinct individuals who came together because of our shared love for law. Each of us offers a unique set of skills and talents that when combined together, results in synergy. Some of us have a passion in writing, some love to debate, and others are confident speakers and leaders. While we all have different interests and experiences, it is the passion for mock trial that unites us all to work hard as a team and gain the opportunity to represent Mississauga, Canada at the Empire Mock Trial Tournament.
From running around looking for scrimmage rooms, to memorizing objections, to exchanging items at the opening ceremonies, to ‘Stomp Clapping’ with our new friends and to feeling the adrenaline rush when one of our students won a witness award, this experience is something that will stick with us forever.
We feel very fortunate to be a be a part of something so great:
She’s multi-talented! Madeline Paiva takes home an Outstanding Witness honor just two days after her beautiful rendition of ‘O Canada’ at the Opening Ceremony.