Canyon of Heroes – 2008
2008 World Champions
Lincoln High School
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A.
Kelly O’Keefe, Esq.
On October 17th, 2008 the Lincoln High School Mock Trial team was crowned as the second Empire World Champion, finishing undefeated with a record of 8-0. As of 2010, they are the only team to achieve a perfect record after four rounds of competition at the Empire.
Lincoln was no stranger to the national stage. After winning Florida state titles in 2004 and 2005, Lincoln represented the Sunshine State at the National High School Mock Trial Championship, where they finished 13th and 32nd, respectively. While their storied past earned them an invite to the Empire, Head Coach Robert Thompson insisted that expectations were low leading up to the weekend. The Lincoln team was treating this solely as a learning experience, and not a way of furthering their school’s legacy.
According to all accounts, it seemed as if the team members’ experience did not match the school’s reputation of national excellence. Well, you couldn’t tell that from watching them in the courtroom. En route to their perfect record, Lincoln defeated the second, third, fifth and ninth place teams at the tournament-talk about a difficult schedule! Let’s consider the quality of those opponents, for a moment. In Round 1, they faced off against former National Champion Xavier College Preparatory from Phoenix, Arizona. In Round 2, they bested Tottenville High School from Staten Island, New York on their home turf-a school that would go on to win their state’s title the following May. In Round 3, it was perennial Louisiana powerhouse and 2000 state champions, Caddo Magnet High School. Finally, in Round 4, they defeated the 2007 Empire Runner-up, Bishop Lynch High School from Dallas, Texas.
Lincoln didn’t just win their rounds-they dominated. The champs bested their opponents by a combined 91 points!
The team’s success at the 2008 Empire was a combination of persuasive legal arguments, concise examinations and technical mastery. Just five months after their trip down the “Canyon of Heroes”, Lincoln captured their third Florida state championship.
While the champions couldn’t defend their title at the Empire in 2009, they plan to be back with the same aspirations in 2010-to learn, not to conquer. Well, we have a message for Lincoln’s opponents: Look out…that’s what they said the first time around
About the School
Lincoln High School is a nationally ranked public school located in Tallahassee, Florida. Founded in 1975, the educational setting at Lincoln fosters flexible, comprehensive, and challenging academic and extra-curricular programs, which maximize each student’s potential. The school strives to have its graduates be productive, contributing members of society who have a strong sense of personal responsibility, a sense of national citizenship, a life-long love of learning, and a respect for the diverse contributions of all.
The school’s beliefs are the following:
- to recruit and retain enthusiastic, highly-qualified faculty and staff members who are dedicated to creating an environment where all students can learn and are valued.
- to provide the highest quality academic instruction possible.
- to create a well-balanced learning community that encourages students to utilize critical thinking skills in problem solving and to develop time management skills to accomplish goals.
- to model and encourage, for students, a love of life-long learning, a sense of personal responsibility, and a respect for each other
- to ensure that every graduate has been given the opportunity to explore career and educational options and has been given guidance in making his/her postsecondary decisions
- to prepare students to become proactive, productive citizens willing to improve their society as a whole.
- to encourage students to become citizens by volunteering in the community.
“Being in the final round of the Invitational, in my first final round EVER, was simply indescribable. When you feel as I did, that you regret nothing, that you’ve done everything you could have done, and that you’re satisfied with yourself and with your teammates, it doesn’t even matter whether or not you win the round. Those feelings of self-worth and awe at what you are capable of achieving are the precise reasons I compete.”
- Charlene Ochogo, Attorney
“Winning the Empire, although awesome, was really nothing compared to the experience our team got from the competition. There was no pressure going into it for us – we were just there to do our best and see what would happen. And we won! But I’m sure the whole team would agree on the fact that the skills we learned there and the experience we had were way better than actually winning.”
- Blair Crumpler, Witness
“I’ve participated in 8 mock trial competitions through high school and I have to say that the Empire was my favorite. Out of the 30 or so rounds of competition the final round at the Empire was one of the best and most fun rounds I ever had. It was an invaluable experience…a competition like no other”
- Kevy Moore, Witness
“The Empire Invitational was a fantastic overall experience. Making the Final Round was the culmination of that experience. I have no doubt that this experience combined with the overall quality of the competition was pivotal in preparing us for winning our State Championship later in the academic year!”
- Robert Thompson, Head Coach