McAlester High School Takes Fifth in Statewide Mock Trial Competition
Mock Trial Committee member Andrea Medley presents the McAlester High School team with a plaque honoring its fifth-place finish.
(March 7, 2018 – OKLAHOMA CITY) McAlester High School’s mock trial team took fifth place in the 2018 Oklahoma High School Mock Trial competition. McAlester was one of eight teams from across the state to advance to the semifinals. Owasso High School ultimately won the state championship during the final round of competition Tuesday evening.
The eight teams that moved on to the semifinals advanced through a field of 42 teams representing 32 schools across the state. McAlester had two teams participating in the program. Competition began in late January. Other high schools advancing to the semifinals were Owasso (three teams), Bishop Kelly in Tulsa, Stillwater, Mustang and Broken Arrow high schools.
McAlester High School’s Team Black is coached by teacher Nicole Green, and its attorney coaches are Judge James Bland, Judge Tim Mills, Adam Scharn, Blake Lynch, Terry Harrison and Eli Bland. Team members are Jordyn Cook, Sammee Donato, Nickolas Graham, Braydon McKelvey, Danielle McLaughlin, Corbin Morris, Spencer Nelms, David Smith and Manning White.
The competition involves teams of students taking on the roles of attorneys and defendants. The “trials” are heard by a judge and attorneys in a courtroom setting where individual and team performances are evaluated. This year’s mock trial is a case focused on a homicide case, where the creator and lead singer of a band was charged with the murder of the band’s lead guitarist. The case is complicated by the fact that the cause of death is being disputed as a blood clot by the expert for the defense.
“I am proud of all of the hard work these students did to prepare for this competition,” Oklahoma Bar Association President Kimberly Hays of Tulsa said. “The teams did an excellent job, and I know the Owasso Audrey Cantrell team will represent Oklahoma well at the national competition in Reno, Nevada, in May. No matter the outcome, the students are able to take away useful skills and a better understanding of our legal system. That to me is a win.”
Presiding judge for the final round of the competition was Retired Judge Edward Cunningham. Scoring judges were Justice Patrick Wyrick, Judge Sarah Hall, Judge David Lewis, Judge Shon Erwin and Judge Jequita Napoli.
The Mock Trial Program is sponsored and funded by the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and the Oklahoma Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Nearly 400 judges and attorneys volunteered their time to work with mock trial teams as coaches and to conduct the competitions.
“While students can gain similar skills in other high school courses, the Mock Trial Program is different because of the interaction and collaboration with legal professionals,” President Hays said. “I’d like to thank all of the coaches and volunteers who made this year’s program a success.”
The foundation, through its grants and awards program, allocates funds to nonprofit agencies and programs like mock trial. The mission of the foundation is to ensure justice is possible for all Oklahomans through the promotion of law, education and access to justice. The 18,000-member Oklahoma Bar Association, headquartered in Oklahoma City, was created by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to advance the administration of justice and to foster and maintain learning, integrity, competence, public service and high standards of conduct among Oklahoma’s legal community.