Six Decorah Middle School students have returned from the State Mock Trial competition with All-State individual medals. Caleb Fey and Natalie Goodner were named an "Outstanding Attorney," while June Breitenbach-Dirks, Oliver Brummel, Greta Jones and Naomi Pedlar were named an "Outstanding Witness." To earn the award, a student must be nominated by both judges as one of their top choices in a single round. Decorah students won six of the 26 medals awarded for outstanding performance.
Decorah Middle School teams "Forgotten Exit Signs" and "Third Degree Byrne" won the 9th and 12th place trophies, respectively.
This year's case was a civil trial about a mother who sued a concert venue for negligence after her son died of asphyxiation during a fire started by a pyrotechnics display. For the competition, students write scripts as attorneys and witnesses and perform trials as plaintiff and defense against opposing teams. Students chose team names based on the case.
Many Decorah Middle School participants previously received outstanding honors at the regional tournament. Outstanding attorney honors went to 8th graders Hannah Arendt, Edyn Bateman, Grace Blikre, Oliver Brummel, Liam Chamberlain, Elsa Johnson, Lillian Olson, McKenzie Riley, Amelia Wadsworth, and Margret Zook and to 7th graders Carson Bohner, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Mara Branum, Mikayla Hiner, Trevor Kuennen, Nora Lesmeister, Ana Simon, and Mitchell Stemper. Outstanding witness honors went to 8th graders Hannah Arendt, Grace Blikre, Liam Chamberlain, Kealy Hines, Lillian Olson, Lily Sandhorst, Kamryn Steines, Kamryn Werges, and Margret Zook and to 7th graders Carson Bohner, Trevor Kuennen, Nora Lesmeister, Danika Mueller.
Mock Trial is part of Decorah Middle School's Extended Learning Program. Carole Sand is the coach of the mock trial teams, with support from volunteer expert mentors Judge Marty Lingreen, attorney Sandra Clasen, and Luther student Peter Stelter and from Decorah High School assistant coaches Grace Gerleman, Gabe Hiner, Anya Lovstuen, Liz Pritchard, Ethan Stravers, and Ruby Sullivan. "We owe much of our success to all of the mentors, assistant coaches, and high school volunteer students who donate countless hours to work individually with our students," said Sand.