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Future lawyers sharpen their skills at Mock Trial competition

| January 29, 2023
Teams from Dover and Claymont faced off in Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest's courtroom during Friday's District Mock Trial competition. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Jan. 30, 2023) – Students from across the county stepped into the shoes of lawyers and took the witness stand during the first in-person District Mock Trial Competition since 2020.

Teams from Dover and Claymont faced off in the first round of Friday’s competition at the courthouse that was a qualifier for the Regional championships. Juniors Ellie Baker and Gemma Dotts were the attorneys for Claymont and got to defend a high school being sued by one of its students.

“I kind of have a little bit of an argumentative personality so I think it’s fun when I get to argue my point with somebody else,” Dotts said. “That’s our favorite part.”

“And it’s always fun at the end of the day. It’s really hot and heated in here but as soon as you walk away everyone is really nice,” Baker added.

Haley McPeek tried the case for Dover alongside classmate Laney Lanzer and earned an Outstanding Attorney certificate for her performance.

“I think we were very well prepared and we did our best and we had fun,” they said.

Claymont Senior Abigael Abarca was that trial’s Outstanding Witness for her portrayal of the school’s guidance counselor. She says it took a lot of preparation and memorization.

“We also think of questions that the other team might ask… and we also like to have other people’s opinions as well and practice,” she said. “We just practiced last Sunday and we had lawyers from our community come in and rank us and see what we can improve on.”

Dover ended up winning the trial and a spot in Regionals. Another group of Dover students participated in Friday’s competition that also featured teams from New Phila, Garaway and Tuscarawas Central Catholic, but the only other competitor to advance was Steubenville.

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