Eighth Grade Westerville Students Participate in Mock Trial Competition


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The 2015-16 8th grade Mock Trial teams from each of the four Westerville Middle Schools participated in the State Showcase on Friday, April 22 at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Downtown Columbus.  Each school competed in two trials, one with their defense team and the second with their prosecuting team.

Blendon’s prosecution was led by co-counselors Ozi Fah and Rebecca Whittakes and witnesses Maria Sommer, Iyana Banks, and Sam Haga competed against Heath Middle School Team 2.  The defense team of co-counselors Ben Livingston and Sam Haga and witnesses Cassie Mohr (who won Outstanding Witness), Ana Volkava, and Ramsey Anderson were up against Heath Middle School Team 1.  Cassie Mohr was also the bailiff/time keeper and Abigail Ball was the assistant coach and student advisor for the team.

Genoa’s prosecuting team co-counselors Robert B. and Kendel Seabury and witnesses Sara Gellner, Emily Smith, and Olivia Horlocker went up against Independence Middle School of Independence, Ohio.  The defense team consisted of co-counselors Anna Borders (who won Outstanding Lawyer Award in the case) and Jeremy Gellner and witnesses Adriane Thompson, Remington Schultz (who won Outstanding Witness in the case), and Maria Dalanno who went up against Cornerstone Academy of Westerville.  Justin Wade was the time keeper, and Madelyn McConnell served as the bailiff.  Student legal advisors were Matt Boller and Jake Beauchamp.

Heritage’s prosecuting team consisted of co-counselors Kadija Conteh and Lydia Lynskey and witnesses Austin Bealer (who won Outstanding Witness Award in the case), Mary Katherine Lynch and Jacob Claggett.  The defense team consisted of co-counselors Kaitlynn Gleich and Abby Olson and witnesses Emma Moran, Danielle Pratt, and Ian Claggett.  Brandon Lam was the time keeper and Michael Piekenbrock served as the bailiff.

The Walnut Springs prosecution team was led by co-counselors Mackenzie Madden (who won Outstanding Lawyer Award in the case) and Marilyn Diaz and witnesses Ryan Iarussi, Rebecca Morrison and Emylee Preston, who went up against Danville Middle School.  The defense team of co-counselors Amanda Hurt (who won Outstanding Lawyer Award in the case) and Marin Kalista and witnesses Miriam Lang, Madison Morrison and Spielberg Paul went up against Harding Middle School.  Nya Rickman was the time keeper and served as the bailiff.

This is the third time each middle school has competed and the fourth year Westerville middle schools have participated.  The students worked on this extra-curricular program for five months and were led by the students’ advanced social studies teachers Tristen Henry (Blendon), Drew Farrell (Genoa), Patrick Acocks (Heritage), and Liz Stokes (Walnut Springs) with support from the administration, the Gifted Education Department and staff, and the Social Studies Department.

For more information on the Middle School Mock Trial sponsored by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, please visit http://www.oclre.org/middleschoolmocktrial/.