When Avery Vidt was a sophomore in high school, she was at what felt like rock bottom. “I had virtually no friends, and my mental health was at its worst. I was having panic attacks frequently, and the thought of having to go to school made me feel nauseous,” she says when reflecting upon that time. But she found a bright spot in the school club that her brother and his friends had pushed her to join the year before. “The reason I even attended school that year was due to Mock Trial. The thought of letting my team down and not coming to practice was worse than anything else.”
She was entrusted with a leading role on the team that year, acting as an attorney in competitions, and it allowed her to find something within herself that she didn’t have before: confidence.
Mock Trial is a grueling competition-based club, where the students are given a “case” that they must research and then argue in a courtroom in front of a panel of real lawyers, who judge them on performance. Vidt acted as a prosecuting attorney for two years, being the lead in her second, and was the lead defense attorney in her senior year. She prides herself on the fact that her team went on to compete at states all three years she held these roles.
Her favorite memory from her time on the team, though, is winning the Greenville Regional Competition her senior year. “With the way Mock Trial competitions in South Carolina work, teams compete within a regional competition, and then the winner and a few other teams with high point totals progress to states. Greenville is by far the hardest region to win, as the best teams are sent there. Back before I joined, my high school had an amazing team that won the state competition and placed well in nationals, but they never won Greenville.” Although Vidt’s team had won their regional competition the year before for the first time in her school’s Mock Trial history, she notes that winning Greenville felt different. “It felt like we had accomplished something truly great and beaten our most formidable obstacle. I’ll never forget how good it felt to win there, especially with it being my senior year.”
Most high school students can relate to the feeling of being unsure of what to do with their lives once they enter the world. Vidt admits that she once felt this way too, but now looks forward to the future and a career that she already knows she will truly love and enjoy.
“I learned that I am a lot more confident than I give myself credit for. When I step behind the bar to do my closing argument or a cross-examination, it feels like my normally shy self melts away.” Now a history major in college and a future law school hopeful, Vidt says that she discovered a passion for law. “Becoming an attorney was something I had never even considered before.”
Because of COVID-19, Vidt elected to do her classes at the College of Charleston from home this year, but she hopes to join the collegiate Mock Trial team once on campus. “It’s what I know best,” she says. “In high school, I learned a great deal about public speaking, courtroom etiquette and case law. Most importantly, I learned to trust myself and my own knowledge. I think I would probably be a lot worse off without having done Mock Trial, and that I would not have the skills I do now or be on my current path. I’m forever grateful for Mock Trial.”
So many kids in high school and college are advised to “just try new things” when they aren’t sure what their passion is. Avery Vidt is living proof that not only does this advice hold true, it can also bring you so much more. She found purpose and confidence by joining Mock Trial, and every person has something out there that can do just the same for them.