Both district and regional competitions recently took place at the Scioto County Courthouse and coordinated by Juvenile Court Judge James Kirsch and Municipal Court Judge Russell Kegley.
“Teams from all over Ohio participated,” said John Smith, Gifted Services director.
That group works with Kirsch and Kegley to put on the event locally.
Competition started on Thursday night and is expected to finish on Saturday afternoon.
The members of the PHS team competing in Columbus are Maggie McKenzie, Natalie Johnson, Ceci Purtee, April Clark, Elizabeth Hardin, Annie Glockner, Julie Storts, Tyler Richburg, Howard Harcha, Matt Harcha, Marlita Cadogan and Jasmine Johnson.
Competing for WHS are Christian Whitt, Dillon MacDonald, Andrew Ruby, Shannon Stewart, Sarah Schuler, Jacob Hollis, Joseph Parker, Zach Phillips and David Perry.
“Preparation for the competition started at the end of October,” Smith said. “Usually the school adviser has a meeting and asks what parts people would like to play.”
The schools are allowed to use an attorney while preparing. The attorney also can appear in court during the mock trials. However, they cannot offer advice to team members while in court.
“There are stiff penalties for that,” Smith said. “The penalties would likely cost a team the match.”
He said students learn a lot during competition, including how to think on their feet.
“There is always an element of surprise,” Smith said. “You know what you're going to do, but you don't know what the other team will do. So you have to be quick and you have to be organized to counter the other team's arguments.”
The mock trial program added another level of competition this year which allowed four teams from Scioto County to advance from district to regional competition.
Besides PHS and WHS, Valley and West Portsmouth were two other local schools that had advanced to the regional round.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.