American Heritage School mock trial team seeks fourth state title

State competition begins Thursday in Orlando

PLANTATION, Fla. – Final preparations are underway for Broward County's top high school mock trial team.

"Bombs and bullets don't kill ideas. They kill people," a student from American Heritage School said as he prepared for the competition.

The students are focused, prepared and ready for trial.

The aspiring attorneys are members of the American Heritage School mock trial team in Plantation.

They're currently the top team in Broward County, and the talented teenagers are headed to Orlando to compete in the state championships.

"There's always that aspect of being nervous about it. However, we prepare so hard and so long for this," sophomore Chase Freeman said.

Members of the mock trial team have sacrificed their nights and weekends for the last five months, turning their classroom into a courtroom and perfecting their arguments, which will be presented to a real jury.

"We are before actual judges, practicing judges and practicing attorneys," mock trial team member Tiffany Pages-Sanchez said.

"The competition there is definitely a lot more challenging than at the county competition. However, we practice day and night. We are here weekends, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and I think we are really prepared," sophomore Skylar Schwartzreich said.

From opening statements to closing arguments, the students do it all.

They are coached by a criminal defense attorney and federal prosecutor.

"These kids are better than some prosecutors I've gone up against," coach and criminal defense attorney Eric Schwartzreich said. "They're practiced. They're prepared. They give up their time and they're very talented."

"It does require a lot of thinking on your feet," coach and federal prosecutor Michael Gilfarb said. "A lot of things aren't scripted and require them to think like lawyers and act like lawyers, present a case like a real lawyer."

The students hope their hard work and dedication will lead them to a fourth state title.

Public and private schools from across the state will be competing for the state title. The competition begins Thursday morning.