Canyon of Heroes – 2010
2010 World Champions
Henry W. Grady High School
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Carl A. Gebo
The road from Atlanta to New York City — from high school students to World Champions — required several things from the students of Henry W. Grady High School. It required sacrifice, determination, and the all-important realization that the team is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
To most teens, summer vacation means beach — going, party-hopping, being carefree and doing what they please — the antithesis of accountability. The Grady Mock Trial team, then, is not comprised of “most teens”.
These students started the summer with two goals: raise $20,000, and prepare a college-level case with just a few months time.
So how did they raise the money? The better question: How didn’t they? They sold $1 bottles of water to park-goers in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. They held fundraisers at local California Pizza Kitchens. They Dialed for Dollars to candidates in the primary season to collect donations. They sold Falcons tickets. They performed at a Sing for Your Supper event at a local eatery. They babysat, cut lawns, and tutored fellow students. And they raised the money they needed.
Preparing the complex fact pattern of an Empire case is no easy task in it of itself. But on top of that, several individuals on the Grady team overcame adversity, made tough decisions, and gave it their all for the greater success of the team.
Egan Allen is one of those teammates. A junior in his first season of mock trial, Allen played the character witness Adrian Malone. On and off the witness stand, he was a fixture of comedic relief for his squad. But behind his jokes is a serious story of a battle with diabetes and cystic fibrosis. Though his health sometimes permitted him from attending team practice, Allen never let it affect his preparation for trial and came through to play the star witness in the championship round.
Of the nine competing students, four had never competed in mock trial before. Not only were they learning the intricacies of the State v. Owens case file, but they were also learning the basics of mock trial simultaneously. They needed leaders to bring the team together. Those leaders rose to the occasion, and sent a message that would prevail into the final round at the Empire — a message that the team comes first.
The Definition of Team
The Grady Mock Trial team has no shortage of accomplishments or accolades. Coming off a state title and top finish at nationals, it would be both expected and somewhat accepted to find some sense of entitlement, especially for the most senior members of the team. But not here.
This was senior Sam Weinstock’s fourth year as an attorney for Grady. He’d excelled at the national tournament, and the Empire afforded him the chance to take the World Stage. Instead of pursue individual recognition, Weinstock chose to do what was best for the team. So he stepped back and away from the spotlight and decided to coach the newer members of the team. He let junior members step into captain roles and became a “ghost coach”, teaching new attorneys how to hone their courtroom chops. Only after several teammates became unable to attend the trip to New York did Weinstock step into an attorney role for the team. Weinstock gave the opening statement for the defense in the final round to capture the title.
Beside Weinstock at the counsel table sat another selfless teammate: Elizabeth McGlamry. Before the final round, McGlamry had held a non-speaking role of the defendant, Jackie Owens. When a fellow teammate was unable to perform, McGlamry stepped into the role as a defense middle attorney, delivering a flawless performance. It was her first time competing on the defense.
Though mock trial can be all-consuming, some students do manage to balance other activities. Alix Youngblood is not only a mock star who played the quirky witness named Hunter Baxamusa, he is also an accomplished cross country runner and soccer player. When it came time to decide between a mock trial scrimmage and a cross country City Championship, Youngblood chose the team over an individual success.
Deciding on Success
On the road to a World Championship, every member on the Grady Mock Trial team had to make some kind of decision.
Some could have pursued individual accolades over team strength. Some could have chosen to let inexperience, health, or finances stand in their way. But all decided to pursue, and achieve, success. And they did it as a team.
Congratulations to Henry W. Grady High School, the 2010 Empire World Champions, and the latest addition to the Empire Canyon of Heroes!
2010 Tabulation Director Kristofer Lyons announces the World Champions:
About the School
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Henry W. Grady High School is a public school rooted in excellence, and founded upon change. Named after Henry W. Grady, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution and proponent of the “New South” during the Reconstruction Era, Grady High School became one of the first high schools in Georgia to accept African-American students in 1961. Since then, Grady has received national recognition for its academics. The school features four smaller learning academies: Biotechnology and Engineering, Business and Entrepreneurship, Communication and Journalism, and Public Policy and Justice.
Grady’s Mock Trial Team is an extension of the high school’s overall success. The team has captured the Georgia State Title in 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Now, they can bring another title home to Georgia: “2010 Empire Mock Trial World Champions.”
“I’ve been doing mock trial for almost 4 years, and the final round at Empire was perhaps the best round of mock trial I have ever seen, much less competed in. It was a pleasure to compete against such a good team, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Winning was great too, but it almost seems silly to declare a winner after that round.”
- Sam Weinstock, Team Captain
“The Empire competition was an incredible, unique mock trial experience that I could not have gotten any other way. To be around that many other people who were as passionate about mock trial as I am was amazing. Every team had so much respect for others, for mock trial, for themselves, and for the competition. It was a great environment to be a part of for 4 days.”
- Shaun Kleber, Team Captain
“New York was so fitting for this cutthroat, high stakes competition. It was so much fun to be in that big city and be a part of that little mock trial universe all at the same time.”
- Elizabeth McGlamry, 2010 New York City’s Finest Attorney
“There is no better way to prepare a team, as a team, for its county, state, or national competition than preparing for and competing in the Empire. All of the mock trial ‘muscles’ get exercised and tested. But make no mistake, this is no mere ‘pre-season warm-up.’ The Empire is for real. Teams come there to win. The round that our team had against the NCHE team was on par with the best rounds of high school mock trial I have ever seen — live or on DVD. From the opening statement to the Prosecution’s rebuttal it was the most polished and professional war. It was a high school mock trial junkie’s perfect mix.”
- Carl A. Gebo, Attorney Coach