A student from Cohoes High School was the first person to be given a newly created scholarship that helped her attend an educational camp in Lake George.
The Albany County Bar Association awarded Emily Taylor $200 so she could attend the $250 weeklong Mock Trial Summer Institute at the Silver Bay YMCA in Lake George in July.
The Mock Trial Summer Institute (MTSI) was a camp that welcomed 44 students from across the state. The students were broken up into teams and attended classes with mock trial teachers and attorneys. Over the course of the week, the students learned about everything from evaluating a case to closing arguments. On the final day, they presented their cases in front of a judge.
“At MTSI, it’s a camp for students interested in a mock trial who want to better their skills in and out of the courtroom, essentially. Each day, we worked on skills such as direct and cross examination and how to handle evidence. We also worked on a practice case and performed it for attorneys who were our judges so we could receive advice for what to work on in the future,” said Taylor.
Taylor got involved in mock trial as a sophomore after hearing about it through her friends.
“I liked the idea, but I didn’t fall in love with it until my first time on the stand as a witness with my lawyer, Myasia,” said Taylor. “Myasia is the reason I wanted to be an attorney in Mock Trial. Her poise and talent inspired me, and she gave me the mock trial bug.”
On the first day at camp, Emily was awarded the “Socialization” award for her outgoing personality and her excellent attitude toward working with the other students attending camp.
“The program awards prizes every morning. It’s called a spirit pin,” said Stacey Whiteley, the executive director of the ACBA. “She won the pin because of her ability to work with other students and people she hasn’t met before. She really has a bubbly outgoing personality that draws people to her.”
It wasn’t all fun and games. Taylor said the camp could be very challenging and helped her to improve her skills.
“The most challenging part was the teamwork with my counselor, Joe. In the week I was with him, he pushed me out of my routine when it came to performing my opening and closings. He also helped me become more open-minded when it came to listening to other experienced students,” said Taylor.
Taylor said she envisions a future as a lawyer, and as she enters her senior year, she is already planning for it.
“I do plan on going to law school,” she said. “I would love to become an attorney, and even in my senior year, I will be in ‘New Visions: Law and Government’ to further my education in law as a senior in high school.”
Whiteley said that she looks forward to the ACBA playing a bigger role in the camp, and she was glad the association was able to help Taylor.
“It was really exciting that we were able to provide that opportunity for her. Otherwise, I don’t think she would have been able to attend if we weren’t able to do that,” said Whitely. “It was great to see her work. I expect her to be a big part of the team in the fall.”