Holland Hall Upper School Places 14th in National Mock Trial Competition
Bottom row from left are Hannah Whitaker, Luke Gile, Sarah Marshall, Trey Henderson; top row
Coach Michon Hughes, Gabe Stoops, Jake Gile, Michael Rose and Coach Clint Hastings.
Official team photo: Andy Manis Photos
Seven students from Holland Hall Upper School represented Oklahoma in the 2014 National High School Mock Trial Championship in Madison, Wis. May 8-10. The team finished 14th out of 46 teams that came from across the country in addition to Guam, South Korea and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
The Oklahoma team won three of its four rounds of competition. They bested Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Jersey but lost in the third round to South Carolina, which ended up as second-place winner.
The mock trial program is designed to teach students the principles of trial advocacy as they apply skills of debate, speech and critical thinking during a fictitious courtroom proceeding, with students playing the roles of prosecutor, defense attorney and witness.
At nationals the students tried the fictitious case of The Estate of George Romero v. Ash Williams, in which Williams is accused of poisoning Romero with a cocktail of caffeine and hallucinogens that caused Romero to have a heart attack that killed him. This was a civil case that followed a criminal trial in which the jury found Williams not guilty.
The judges evaluated the students based on their familiarity of the case and the formulation of their arguments. Students received points for each phase of the trial, opening, direct and cross examination, closing argument and how well their witnesses responded.
Team members who competed at nationals are Luke Gile, Jake Gile, Trey Henderson, Sarah Marshall, Michael Rose, Gabe Stoops and Hannah Whitaker.
Mock Trial Coordinator Judy Spencer said, “I was thoroughly impressed with this group of young people who worked so hard to prepare for each round. It is rewarding to see the life skills they gain as part of the experience – self confidence, speaking ability and teamwork – to name a few. Also impressive for this new team is that they placed so high in their first time to compete at nationals.”
PATH TO NATIONALS
Holland Hall Upper School Red Team defeated the Clinton High School Gold Team in the final round of competition to claim the 2014 Oklahoma High School Mock Trial Championship. Forty teams from across the state competed in the Oklahoma mock trial program.
Holland Hall’s attorney coaches are Michon Hughes and Clint Hastings.
The Mock Trial Program is sponsored and funded by the Oklahoma Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. The foundation provides annual funding for programs that provide legal assistance, education and protection for vulnerable citizens. Its mission is to promote justice, fund crucial legal services and advance public awareness of the law. The 17,500-member OBA, 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.