Middle School Mock Trial Teams Earn Top Honors

Garfield and Harding middle schools recently participated in the statewide Middle School Mock Trial Showcase sponsored by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, where 19 middle school teams went to trial against each other via Zoom on April 29. Garfield fielded three teams (all grade 7) and Harding fielded two (one grade 7, one grade 8).

Garfield’s three teams together won five out of six possible “Best Attorney” awards and three of six possible “Best Witness” awards. Harding’s two teams won three of four “Best Attorney” awards and two of four “Best Witness” awards. 

Garfield’s “Best Attorneys” were Joshua Browning, Kennedi Byroads, Joshua Kelley-Moore, Fallon Kolos, and Ruby McEwen. Harding’s “Best Attorneys” were Maya Trempe (for the second year in a row), Alessio Matera, and Sean Miller. Garfield’s “Best Witnesses” were Jackson Comer, Nathan Haytas, and Lillian Hobrath. Harding’s “Best Witnesses” were Cora Barcelona and Bridget Katzenberger.

Team scores are ranked into three tiers, with only five of 19 teams reaching the top tier. All five Lakewood teams scored in second tier, but both of Harding’s teams and two of Garfield’s three scored just under the top tier cutoff score. So our five Lakewood Mock Trial teams performed very well overall. 

This year the Middle School Mock Trials were based on the book Greystone Secrets: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix, in which a main character is charged with kidnapping. Each middle school team has a prosecution and a defense squad, and prepares for two different trials against other Ohio middle schools. Students take on the roles of attorneys, witnesses, and bailiff/timers; despite occurring on Zoom this year, trials take place in front of real attorneys who act as trial judges and who rate teams on case understanding, professional demeanor, oratory skills, and understanding of trial technique and courtroom procedure. Garfield had three and Harding two trials running simultaneously in the morning, and repeated that schedule in the afternoon!

At Garfield, thanks go to Dan Smith, who coached Garfield’s teams, and to Colleen Corrigan, April Hoy, and Cassandra Squires who oversaw the trials. Very special thanks go to Dan Smith’s wife, Peggy Ferraro, an attorney who served for the fifth year as Garfield’s legal consultant and who spent many hours both in school and at home providing feedback on students’ work.

Garfield’s participants were Ben Bernad, Aliya Bobich, Joshua Browning, Kennedi Byroads, Nathan Card, Claire Carson, Dominique Christian, Jackson Comer, Rocco DeNicola, Alice Drickhamer, Porter Gilliland, Emma Gjergji, Nicholas Graham, Nathan Haytas, Lillian Hobrath, Joshua Kelley-Moore, Audrey Kerney, Fallon Kolos, Penelope Kooser, Robert Koopman, Madilyn Lee, Luna Marquez-Potts, Kieran McClarren, Ruby McEwen, Seamus McGann, Say Klu Moo, Kara Oldfield, Chelsea Payne, Kamryn Peterson, Andrew Potoczak, Caden Sandoval, Nidea Stevenson, Greta Trapp, Mathew Wilson, Liam Woolfolk, Ben Wroblewski, and Sean Zgodinski. 

At Harding, Sonja Kreps guided her 7th and 8th grade teams along with help from countless attorneys and judges present during the week of playoffs, which decided Harding’s teams.  A special thank you to Dan Shields who not only judged during the playoffs and coordinated the attendance of many of the lawyers and judges.  Harding’s 8th grade students participating were: Jelena Rodriguez, Alessio Matera, Maya Trempe, Kylee Blinkee, Cora Barcelona, Owen Hill, Cole Hammer, Avery Greene, Ceci Whiteamire, and Storey Williams. The 7th graders attending/competing were: Sean Miller, Mikayla Jaissle, Nathaniel Gage, Sam Parker, Evey Lardi, Niko Banfield, Harper Kinder, Holly Rogalski, Alex Watts, and Bridget Katzenberger.

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Volume 18, Issue 11, Posted 12:29 PM, 06.01.2022