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Three Lake High School Mock Trial Teams are Bound for Regional Competition
Hours of practice, meetings after school, coming in during snow days, memorizing, communication, and coaching provided by area lawyers and a teacher/advisor paid off big for three Lake High School Mock Trial teams that competed at district competitions recently.
When day-long competitions were done in Stark and Summit counties Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, all three Lake teams (appropriately named Red, White, and Blue) qualified to compete in the upcoming regional competition set for Feb. 16, 2018.  This happened despite the handicap of having the teams separated -  with Teams Blue and White assigned by state organizers to compete in Summit County at the County Courthouse, and Team Red assigned to Stark County at the Canton Municipal Courthouse.

Benjamin Nist (Blue), Autumn Crawford (Blue), Kayla Saffell (Red), George Bogner (White), and Hunter LeVan (White) also received Outstanding Attorney awards, while Niko Davis (Red) and Grace Weisel (Red) receiving Outstanding Witness awards upon the completion of the district event.  
“In previous years, including last year, only one Lake team qualified for Regionals.  Last year’s team eventually earned a trip to State competition,” began Mock Trial advisor and Lake High School Legal Studies instructor Teresa Miller.  “But this is extremely rare to have all our Lake teams qualify to continue competing at Regionals.  We have had at least one qualifying team for regionals four out of the past five years.“  This year’s Regional event will take place Feb. 16, 2018 in Summit County.

“The kids took ownership, and did a really great job of communicating.  Each team is composed of junior and seniors.  My Juniors class is in the morning.  I have Seniors during the afternoon, so they had to use Google docs (a computer software program) to share notes and information with each other.”

“Even though we were on separate teams, we worked together to prepare,” said Casey Marinics, a Blue Team member.
“It was lots of communication, preparing both prosecution and defense, and getting legal advice.  We shared ideas, and if something was missing, we asked our legal advisors,” said Julia Genovese, a Red Team member.  

“We stayed after school to direct the witness – to practice direct questioning,” said White Team member George Bogner.
In order to qualify for regionals, each team had to successfully prosecute and defend an actual legal case, “State of Ohio vs. Adam Smith,” (the actual name of the defendant has been changed.)   It is based on a 1999 crime in which “Adam Smith” was accused of allegedly murdering his girlfriend.  (In real life, the defendant is currently in prison awaiting a re-trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel, a Sixth Amendment right.)
This single legal case above is being used by the prosecution and defense for this year’s entire Mock Trial season, through district, regional, and state competitions.

Lake’s Mock Trial teams also benefited from having their own legal advisor(s), who are real life professional lawyers, judges, or law students, to help prepare for their competition.   This year Team Blue’s legal advisors were Attorney Ron Starkey (Starkey Law Firm), and Judge David Nist (Stark County Family Court).  University of Akron law student Patrick Cannell advised the White Team, and attorney Adam Runkle , with Starkey Law Firm, and Lake Legal Studies Alumni Kyle Tisdale, a 2011 Lake graduate and current University of Akron law student, advised the Red Team.  “Attorneys came in to play different roles in the case,” said Blue Team member Ben Nist.

In addition, Lake graduates and former Legal Studies students helped this year’s Red, White and Blue teams prepare for Mock Trial.  They include 2015 graduate Mackenzie Blaser, and 2017 graduates Katie Campisi, Layla Fetters, Tyler Gray, and Esther Peach.

Mrs. Miller is in her ninth year of teaching Legal Studies at Lake Local Schools.  It is one of Lake’s Career Tech Prep programs available to juniors and seniors attending Lake, GlenOak, Hoover, and Jackson High Schools.  Other Career Tech programs offered at Lake include Marketing/Business Management, GenYES, the Career Based Intervention Program, and Health Tech Prep.

What are Lake’s Red, White, and Blue Teams doing now, knowing they are going on to regionals?  Practicing some more, with some time spent rehearsing in an actual courtroom (used for Stark County Family Law cases) in downtown Canton.

 Team Blue
Team Red  
Team White, with Mock Trial Advisor Teresa Miller at far left. 
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Lake Local School District  436 King Church Avenue SW  |  Uniontown, Ohio 44685  |  Phone: 330.877.9383  |  Fax: 330.877.4754
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