While getting insight into the court system, high school students in Texas conduct mock trials as they compete for scholarships.

Holly Raiborn has played a witness role for her high school mock trial team for two years. While she’s toyed with the idea of studying law, she said the mock trials have prepared her for her future dream career — becoming a senator.

“The public speaking skills really apply to my future,” she said. “It’s an interesting opportunity because a lot of times the academic programs at the school don’t test public speaking skills and this utilizes different interests.”

Coastal Bend students will take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses in the annual regional high school mock trial competition Saturday.

Teams from Calallen, Carroll, Collegiate, Flour Bluff, Gregory-Portland, Incarnate Word Academy, John Paul II, Moody, Ray and Tuloso-Midway high schools will compete at the Nueces County Courthouse for a chance to win scholarship money. Tuloso-Midway returned to the competition this year and Moody High School will compete for the first time.

Organizers will award $6,700 in scholarships to students who perform the best in their courtroom roles. Since 2007, more than $41,000 has been given in scholarships.

Raiborn, a junior at Calallen High School, received 1st place for her witness role last year and won $500.

“Witnesses can make or break a case,” she said.

Will Steen, a Carroll High School senior, hopes his witness role also will prepare him for his future. Steen plans to pursue a law degree.

“I really want some insight in court proceedings and how cases are broken down,” he said. “I would like to attend law school and hope to be an attorney, so being a witness can offer a different insight.”

Continue reading about student competition for scholarship dollars in mock trials in Texas.

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