The 2018-2019 8th grade Mock Trial teams from each of the four Westerville Middle Schools participated in the State Showcases on May 3 and May 10 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 team, led by co-counselors Gloria Rogers and Landon Gibbs, along with witnesses Bailey Mulick, Ajay Kumar, and Rose Lansana, competed against Heath Middle School. The defense team, led by co-counselors Alena Keenan and Zach Ball, along with witnesses Mia Dailey, Meg Daniels, and Thauany de Oliveria, were up against Zane Trace Middle School. Student advisors who helped prep and build the court cases included Kathaleeya Phen, Maddie Pifer, Abby Jarrell, and Jaiana Jimena. The Blendon team received a top rating of Superior for their performance and Meg Daniels received the Outstanding Witness Award.
Genoa’s mock trial team competed May 10th. Their prosecution team included co-counselors Sidney Choo and Brianna Wade and witnesses Jordan Alloway, Kathryn Owens, and Jack Oldenburgh. They went up against Harding Middle School of Lakewood, Ohio. The defense team consisted of co-counselors Max Sprowls and Ethan Moore, who won “Outstanding Attorney” and witnesses Hannah Chambers, Stanley Jackson, and Katie Ward, who won “Outstanding Witness.” They went up against Jackson Middle School of Stark, Ohio. Aiden Chao served as bailiff, and Ali Nussbaum served as timekeeper. The legal support team consisted of Lily Burky, Blessing Oduro, and Shannon Wyatt. Based upon the average score of the judges, Genoa's team earned the ranking of “Outstanding.”
Heritage’s prosecuting team consisted of co-counselors Kaedance Cicchino and Will Bowling and witnesses Jennie Hubble, Natassja Myers, and Anna Sekeres. The defense team consisted of co-counselors Kyle Jamison and Jenna Musa, and witnesses Dillon Hittle, Mollie Kinkead, and Yiwen Wu. Kyle Jamison won Outstanding Attorney in his trial, while Mollie Kinkead won Outstanding Witness.
The Walnut Springs prosecution team, led by co-counselors Josh Kaputsin and Colleen Lynch (who won the Outstanding Attorney award) and witnesses Corbin Robinson, Maddie Forrest and Olivia Endres (who won the Outstanding Witness award) competed against Perrysburg. The defense team, led by co-counselors Claudia Stanton and Cori Bohan (who won the Outstanding Attorney award) and witnesses Danielle Halterman, Monae Braxton and Maya Hillberry (who won the Outstanding Witness award) competed against Chagrin Falls. Natalie Ma was bailiff and timekeeper and Maia McCown, Emma Blanchong, Cici Johnson and Jake Reichman assisted the witnesses and attorneys in creating each team’s cases and questions. Overall, Walnut Springs received the highest ranking of Superior at the showcase.
This is the sixth time each middle school has competed and the seventh year Westerville middle schools have participated. Students worked on this extra-curricular program for five months and were led by advanced social studies teachers Tristen Henry (Blendon), Leslie Thompson (Genoa), Patrick Acocks (Heritage), and Liz Stokes (Walnut Springs) with support from the building administration, the Gifted Education Department and staff, and the Social Studies Department.
For more information about the Middle School Mock Trial sponsored by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, visit www.oclre.org.