The path to politics

Elyse Winter

According to the American Bar Association, a recent population survey showed around 1.3 million active attorneys in the United States as of 2020. 

Xavier High School senior Miyako Coffey’s story started in the sixth grade at Regis Middle School when she joined a mock trial team as a chance to be with her friends.

Fast forward about six years to this past season and her most recent team, the Robins Mock Trial team, which placed second at State and had three students receive an outstanding attorney award: Ava Challenger(X22), Joanne Lee(X21) and Joe Semelroth(X24). Davis Robe(X24) also received an outstanding witness award at State. 

The Robins Mock Trial team is made up of high schoolers in the Linn County area and, this year, consisted of 15 students from Xavier, Washington and Kennedy High Schools. This allowed for two full separate teams, with Coffey being a witness for one of them.

Coffey, whose  future plans include becoming an attorney or getting involved in public policy, explains    how mock trial has impacted her decisions and career path. 

“I always knew I was interested in politics, but doing mock trial made me realize I love to look at the law aspect of things and how it affects everything we do. It helped me learn how to interpret and analyze the law,” Coffey said.

Not only that, but the lessons and skills she has gained will be ones she carries with her her entire life and into her profession. 

“It has taught me how to be a better public speaker and how to think on my feet in a really professional setting,” Coffey said.

Coffey’s father, Joe Coffey, commented on Coffey’s dedication and ability to adapt, benefitting the team.

“Miyako enjoyed dialing in various dialects and accents as a mock trial witness every year. Witnesses can be the difference makers on a mock trial team. It was fun seeing her learn each new role and accent – southern belle, Irish rock star, New York art thief, Texan music promoter… she was great at all of them,” Joe said. 

Joe also stated how, through great leadership and dedication, Miyako and the rest of the team were able to be in contention for the state title every year in their four years competing in high school. 

Next year, Miyako will be attending Hope College located in Holland, Michigan, where she intends to study political science on a pre-law track.