Caroline Fredericks '21, Caitlin Marple '21, and Jake Mozeleski '22 (clockwise from top left) conduct a zoom call with coach Edward McDermott '79.
As one of only two undergraduate institutions invited to participate in this year’s International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR) Vilnius competition, Holy Cross was an underdog with—as it turns out—a big bite. At its conclusion, the international law school competition issued multiple awards to the College, including some first-place prizes to Holy Cross students and teams.
“Though competing as one of the only undergraduate teams in a law school tournament was at first intimidating, my teammates and I felt confident that our time at Holy Cross had prepared us well,” says Caroline Fredericks ’21, a history major and philosophy minor on the prelaw track and one of three Holy Cross students participating in the tournament. “From my own experience, I know that courses like Legal Reasoning & Rhetoric and countless classes in my history major improved my ability to craft cogent arguments and communicate clearly— skills that were necessary in this competition.”
The international law school tournament, which was to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, until the international pandemic necessitated a move to an online format, featured participants from law schools around the world as well as only two U.S. undergraduate institutions—Holy Cross and Boston University. Following three grueling days of preliminary competition that included 24 mediation sessions, the Holy Cross team finished in the top 4 out of 16 total teams in both the best Advocate/Client group category and best Mediator category and was invited to participate in the INADR finals.
Holy Cross would go on to win first place as a team in the Mediator category and placed fourth in the Advocate/Client pair category. In addition to these prestigious team awards, Holy Cross students Caitlin Marple ’21 and Jake Mozeleski ’22 received first place individual awards in the Advocate/Client category, with Marple also receiving a third place individual award in the Mediator Category.
For the students on the team, the experience means more than the awards. “The value of strong oratory skills is unparalleled,” says Marple, a political science and economics double major with a concentration in peace and conflict studies on the prelaw track. “Through Mediation and my time with the Trial Teams at Holy Cross, I’ve developed my public speaking skills greatly. This has been an invaluable skill for me to have in interviews, presentations in the classroom, and beyond. Being able to develop these skills on an international stage at the Vilnius tournament is an experience for which I am so grateful and allowed me to further refine my talents in front of competitors at the law school level.”
The team also credits coach Edward McDermott ‘79, as well as Holy Cross administrators and leadership, with enabling their success.
“Our performance was not only a testament to our Holy Cross education but also the commitment of our faculty and coaches during this time of distance learning,” explains Fredericks. “Our coach, Ed McDermott, spent countless hours preparing us and zooming with us every night during the tournament, and we simply could not have been as successful without him.”
McDermott, who has coached at Holy Cross for 21 years, notes, “This is quite an accomplishment for these three special HC Crusaders, and I could not be more proud of how our students prepared for this academic competition.”
Jake Mozeleski ’22, a Spanish and political science double major, discusses the real-word impact that his coach and the tournament experience have had for him: “Part of a Jesuit education is learning the ability to meet people where they are, to listen to them and make them feel heard and valued. Entering a virtual competition with people from quite literally all around the world can be a daunting task, but the skills I have learned through my Jesuit education prepared me to do so with grace.”
Marple agrees that the Jesuit environment of Holy Cross uniquely equipped her for success. “The College calls upon each of us to make the best of our own talents, to work together, to be sensitive to one another, and to serve others. These tools are invaluable when working as a mediator – you must listen to all parties, direct the conversation, guide toward resolutions, and help the parties understand each other to find common ground. I’ve learned these skills in all aspects of my experience at the College – both in and out of the classroom. Our success is a true testament to one of the central principles of a Jesuit education: magis, or ‘striving for the more.’ Students here are called to do their very best and to always strive for personal excellence in all aspects of life.”
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