The Harding Mock Trial team took top honors at the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education Middle School Mock Trial State Showcase on April 22 as the team of seventh- and eighth-graders won seven of eight possible awards in its four trials.The seventh-grade team earned an overall "Superior" rating and the eighth-graders earned an "Excellent" rating.
More than 300 middle school students from 30 schools came to the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center for the state showcase, which this year was based on the novel “The Outsiders.” The trial was a criminal case, Oklahoma vs. Cade, on the murder of Greaser Johnny Cade.
Many of the students dressed their parts as Greasers had their slicked back hair and leather jackets, and the Socs with their preppy dress.
The Harding team was made up of four teams – two for each grade – and each team was comprised of two attorneys and four witnesses. Each grade had a prosecuting team and a defense team. Those who competed in Columbus were selected from among their classmates after a mock trial playoff at school in March.
No verdicts are given at the end of the trial, however at each trial an Outstanding Witness and Outstanding Attorney award is given. Winning Outstanding Attorney awards were eighth-graders Grace Gill and Nikina Norris, and seventh-grader Mira Getrost. Outstanding Witness awards were won by eighth-graders Emma Carson, a tie between Lily Fordu and Ivy Rook, and seventh-graders Erin McHugh and Willow Rosser.
Attorneys and judges served as competition judges, giving students points for professional demeanor, oratory skills and an understanding of trial technique and courtroom procedure.
"Our Harding lawyers were well prepared and persuasive,” said Ruth Pangrace, who coached the teams with legal guidance from Lakewood parent and attorney Dan Shields. “They made us all so proudl!"
Eighth-graders Jack Wynn and Nikina Norris were the attorneys for their trial team. Nikina won a Best Attorney award. (photos by Kevin Costello)