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Forestbrook Middle School wins fifth Middle School Mock Trial State Championship

Mock trial Forestbrook Middle School won the 11th annual Middle School Mock Trial State Competition held at the Marc H. Westbrook Lexington County Judicial Center on Saturday, December 6, winning over Moultrie Middle School from Charleston. This marks the school’s fifth state championship title in six years. Ocean Bay Middle School finished third in the statewide event. Both schools will advance to compete in the 2015 Battle of the Carolinas Middle School Competition next February featuring the top four Middle School Mock Trial teams from North Carolina and South Carolina.

The following students are members of Forestbrook Middle School’s State Championship Team: Hannah Beam, Madison Blanton, Joseph Chestnut, LeaMarie Gibbons, Noah Bryce Glasgow, Joshua Hampton, Charity Hillegass, Gabrielle Hunt, Amari Hunter, Meghan Kathman, Benjamin D. Kellogg, Jaden King, Josephine Kirkman, Timothy Linder, Zack Odom, Aden Seay, Jack Slate, Merritt Welch and Adam Wilson. Joey Kirkman and Hannah Beam were named Most Effective Witnesses. LeaMarie Gibbons, Benjamin D. Kellogg and Meghan Kathman were named Most Effective Attorneys.

The team was coached by teachers Gretchen Almeida, Grace Burleson, Kati Shumway, Alexis Tejera, and Kim Welch. Audra Byrd, Esq., was the attorney coach who volunteered and worked with the team.

Ocean Bay Middle School’s Mock Trial Team members are Kylie Beckerman, Fendi Chen, Ryan Costa, Christian DiMarino, Ela Ender, Caroline Kingsmore, Anna Park, Christoph Tatgenhorst and Franky Wong. The team was coached by teachers Billy Gainus, Marion Touzel and Elaine Aiken. Dominic Allen Starr, Esq., served as the attorney coach for the team.

During the state competition, students presented the prosecution and defense of a fictitious case before a panel of volunteer judges and attorneys. They also filled the roles of attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs and timekeepers. Each team was judged on its presentation skills, rather than the legal merits of the case.

In the fictitious case of the State of New Harmony v. Charlie Spencer, Brook Bentley, the owner of a lobster boat, accused Spencer of sinking his boat after a hole was discovered in the boat’s hull matching the diameter of a drill bit found in Spencer’s nearby truck. Bentley and Spencer, both lobstermen, were witnessed in an altercation on the day of the boat sinking. Spencer was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and with malicious injury to personal property.

The Mock Trial Program is sponsored by the South Carolina Bar’s Law Related Education (LRE) Division, which was developed in 1976 to improve the ability of teachers to instruct law related education. The program is supported by the Bar’s LRE Committee and made possible through a SC Bar Foundation IOLTA grant and the SC Bar. Learn more at