ACC President Dr. Algie Gatewood (seated center) poses with ACC’s Mock Trial Team (standing l-r) Jehmakia Howard, Daniel Satterfield, Nathan Bodenheimer, Michael Howard, Gabriel Parks, faculty advisor Dr. Kevin Sargent, James Gilchrest, and Kiara Dean; (seated) Shanil Boykin and Veronica Wisnewski.
For the second consecutive year, students on Alamance Community College’s Mock Trial Team scored a victory over one of North Carolina’s top four-year universities by defeating UNC Charlotte on a 2-0 decision at the Southeast Regional Mock Trial Championships held at Campbell Law School in Raleigh on February 18-19.
“This is big for us,” said Dr. Kevin Sargent, ACC English instructor who serves as team coach. “We lost close decisions to teams from the University of Florida, Georgia College, and Elon, but for our students to win against a school like UNC Charlotte shows that they are just as talented and motivated as students from much bigger institutions.”
During the month of February, the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) hosts 25 regional tournaments at which more than 5,000 students from 650 teams compete to earn bids to the national championship tournament in April. AMTA mock trial is the largest and most prestigious forensic competition in the U.S.
Alamance Community College is one of only two community colleges in the country to take on this exceptional challenge, according to officials at the American Mock Trial Association.
Other educational institutions that competed in the Southeast Regional competition were George Washington University, Campbell University, Patrick Henry University, American University, Wake Forrest University, NC State University, Duke University, Davidson College, High Point University, UNC, University of Tennessee, and William and Mary.
“The courtroom is an ideal setting for students to learn vital skills in argumentation, advocacy, critical thinking, communication, and professional behavior. Such experiences are especially valuable for community college students making the transition to a four-year university, or entering the workforce,” said Dr. Sargent. “Since almost all of our students work or have significant family obligation, finding the time to participate in co-curricular learning opportunities like mock trial is difficult. It makes what our students have achieved even more satisfying.
Daniel Satterfield, a student who has played the role of an attorney on the team for two years, called his participation on mock trial an “amazing journey” that required a great deal of dedication and effort. He added that the time put in is worth it because it will help him succeed in his career goal of becoming a history teacher.
Students representing ACC at the regional tournament were Veronica Wisnewski (Captain), Nathan Bodenheimer, James Gilchrest, Kiara Dean, Daniel Satterfield, Gabriel Parks, Shanil Boykin, Michael Howard, Bobbi Howard, and Jehmakia Howard.