To the Editor:
Last night, April 2, found me at the Law School at the Bristol Campus of Roger Williams University where two teams of high school students competed in a moot trial, the semi-final session of a statewide competition. The team from Bay View Academy assumed the role of Defense and East Greenwich High School’s team represented the Prosecution in a mock trial in an actual courtroom setting. A real-life judge presided and three practicing attorneys comprised the jury. Six students from each school assumed the roles of legal teams and witnesses. These young people performed flawlessly and the presentation was better than watching an episode of Law and Order on television.
I tell you this because these young scholars do not get the public recognition that is given to athletes, although their months-long preparation for this grueling competition can be as mentally exhausting as is the physical exhaustion of the athlete. The long-term benefits that the students derive from moot court participation will be of great value throughout their lives: teamwork, self-esteem and self-confidence. However, in my judgment, the added value of the ability to think on their feet is invaluable. This is not to diminish the value of sports – I still treasure my high school sports participation. I merely ask that public media give to scholarly competitors the recognition that they rightfully deserve.
Congratulations to both teams for reaching the semi-finals and good luck to Bay View in their final presentation on April 11. The winner of the finals will represent Rhode Island in nationwide competition.