Two mock trial teams place at state

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Thirty-four teams competed at the Iowa Bar Association’s state mock trial competition. The competition was held March 28-30 at the Iowa Events Center. Team Incendio was the only team from Johnston to advance to the final four round. The final four event was held at the Iowa Supreme Court downtown and the winning team had the opportunity to advance and compete at the national competition in Boise, Idaho. They  lost to Marion Home School who eventually went on to win the final round against WDM Valley. Team Big Mock Candy Mountain placed 10th in the state. Team Oro Judicium received the Judge Anthony Critelli Award for Professional Conduct and sportsmanship.

While teams place as a group, individuals are eligible for awards as well. Senior Lauren McDowell and sophomore Mark Nagel won Most Outstanding Witness. Prakhyath Bujimalla won Most Outstanding Attorney. Among the awards this year a new one was awarded to middle school ELP teacher Kathy Paul for significant contributions to the to the mock trial program in Iowa. She was selected as the first recipient of the Mock Trial Educator Coach Hall of Fame, sponsored by the American Board of Trial Advocates. “I had heard very little about this new award so was completely taken by surprise,” Paul said.

The program teaches students communications skills, team work, independence and keeps Paul coming back every year. 30 years ago the program was only ten students, but has grown into the large and successful program it is today through Paul’s dedication to create a program that  builds on itself. “I am very touched by this award, because I believe the Mock Trial program is an effective way to challenge students and push them to their capacity,” Paul said.

Senior Lauren McDowell was apart of Team Incendio and credits the program for not only teaching her all the things that keeps Paul coming back but for making her the person she is today. McDowell has been with Team Incendio since her eighth grade year and has built many traditions with them.”My team always sings Adele’s “Someone Like You” before every trial. It’s a tradition that started back in eighth grade,” she said. “We sing it super loud and always get a lot of stares and people laughing at us.”

The extra effort they put in this year landed them their third place title. After being together for five years the all senior team acknowledges the memories they’ve made to having just as big an impact as the lessons they’ve learned. “I think I’ll miss my teammates and my coaches the most. “We’ve basically grown up with this team since middle school so we’re all close when it comes to mock trial,” McDowell said. “We put in so much effort this year and all of our hard work finally paid off.”

 

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