MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Step into a certain practice session at White Station High School and you might think you stepped into an episode of Law and Order or a discussion between a real team of attorneys.
"In every competition, whether district or state, so far every round the jurors have told us that not only do we present the case well - they say that we present the case better than the lawyers that they know would do," says senior Sonya Khattack.
Which might explain why Sonya and the rest of her team are the State Champions in the 30th annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial competition. That and a lot of grueling study and practice.
Senior and team member Gordon Pera says the school's Mock Trial team is his biggest extracurricular activity. "And my rugby coach is gonna be mad at me for this, but it's definitely what I put the most energy into and what I have to put to the most time into - just for my practicing schedule alone."
The students learn real life lessons about the law and court proceedings before they're even chosen to be a part of the school's team.
The team's coach, Buddy Bernstein, is a practicing attorney who teaches interested students classes about law and mock trial, then the students try out for positions on the team as lawyers and witnesses.
When the competition rolls around, they practice and spar courtroom-style every day for hours on end.
For the thrill of the competition, Junior Stephanie Kim says it's worth it. "But really, I'm having fun, especially during competition. The adrenaline is rushing through my body. I'm having fun!"
The National High School Mock Trial Competition will be held in Philadelphia May 5th through the 9th.
In the state competition, Khattak was named Most Valuable Player for the team, while White Station student Jeanette Baker was awarded the competition's Best Advocate for the Plaintiff.
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