Kaua‘i High knows how to argue

They’ve won 10 state titles, 19 district titles, placed second at the national competition in 2005, and they’re now ready to resume their legendary streak. They’re not members of a sports team but the Kaua‘i High School Mock Trial team.

Mock trial is a high school (and college) organization, where students take part in a fictional case, playing the parts of witnesses and attorneys.

Mock trial is team-driven; members form their own legal theories, themes and examinations.

From being in mock trial one will not only learn how to speak well in front of others, but be able to communicate ideas more effectively, persuasively and confidently.

The Kaua‘i High Mock Trial is coached by attorneys Ted Chihara and Aric Fujii, as well as former mock trial member Becky Sadamitsu. Chihara, better known as “Cheech,” is a veteran of the program, having coached for more than 20 years.

His sons have been in the program and his wife also plays a prevalent role as team mother.

Mock trial is, essentially, a year-round activity that starts in August and doesn’t end until May. The team requires a lot of dedication and time for what team members consider to be a sport.

Micah Mizukami, sophomore, said mock trialers are so passionate about what they do because “it takes a lot of hard work and concentration in what we’re doing.” He went on to say that it is rewarding being able to see all of his work pay off.

“You have to think so hard that it induces the release of endorphins,” Ted Chihara added. “It’s total commitment.”

Passion and dedication are understatements for the fervor that the team members have. Aric Fujii said that the team is so good that, oftentimes, it can coach itself.

Chihara said that one of the major things that separates Kaua‘i High from its competition is “practice, practice, practice.”

This year the team is performing a second-degree murder case, where members must play out both the prosecution and defense sides of the case.

The team’s hard work is starting to pay off already this year, having just delivered a Kaua‘i district competition win against Island School last week.

Students of both schools had the great opportunity of playing in the newly built courthouse in front of Prosecutor Craig DeCosta and per diem judge, Frank Rothschild.

Currently, the team is preparing for the state competition on O‘ahu, where it will go up against teams from O‘ahu, Maui and the Big Island.

In the past, the team has competed and won, against the likes of Punahou, Hawai‘i Baptist Academy and Kamehameha Schools-Maui.

Sophomore Gabrielle Sanehira said that she is expecting “a lot of variation in presentation and skill.”

At the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Dallas, 44 teams from across the nation and two territories will all compete for a spot in the final round, where two teams go head-to-head for the national title in front of a panel of 11 jury members.

Kaua‘i High has high hopes for both the state and national competitions.

Chihara said he hopes that the team will be “No. 1 in the nation.”

Mock trial doesn’t merely teach lessons that are valuable in the courtroom, but lessons that are valuable in life.

For more information contact the offices of Ted Chihara at 245-1855.

• Mari Graham, editorial intern, is a senior at Kaua‘i High and a member of the mock trial team. She can be reached at 245-3681 or intern@kauaipubco.com.


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