The defense rests! SCHS blazes new trail in state mock trial competition

9 SC mock trial team group

Sussex Central High School’s mock trial team placed second in state competition held Feb. 26-27. Back row from left: Eric Hacker (Attorney Coach), Faith Kinsler, Charlie Megginson IV, Bryce Molnar, Hailee Smith, Nathan Greenlee, Danny Keenan, Derya Sen, Abby Ruark, Holly Williams, Thomas Bilinski, Anya Klimitchev and Tom Murphy (Coach). Front row from left: Helen Elliott (Coach), Devon Lynch, Ashley Bickel (Attorney Coach) and Daniella Furtado.

GEORGETOWN – Sussex Central High School blazed a pioneering trail last week when it became the first team ever from Sussex County to advance to the championship round of the Delaware State Mock Trial Competition.

SCHS’s second-place finish was the highest ever for a Sussex County team in the competition’s 25-year history.

This year’s annual competition, held Feb.26-27, was sponsored by the Delaware Law Related Education Center (DLREC).

Twenty-five public and private high schools participated in this year’s competition, which challenged students to complete a legal analysis of a criminal case provided by DELREC.

Student attorneys were required to master the legal rules and be able to verbally argue their case before the court. Student witnesses had to learn their roles from the statements provided and be able to withstand both direct and cross examination on the witness stand.

The winner in each round was the team that most effectively presented the case within the rules of the court and the competition, as judged by a panel of attorneys from the Delaware Bar Association.

Team coaches Helen Elliott and Tom Murphy credit the team’s success to the SCHS students who were willing to take on this tough intellectual challenge and dedicate themselves to many long hours of preparation.

The Sussex Central High School Mock Trial Team is comprised of the following students:

Plaintiff Team

Attorneys: Charlie Megginson IV, Hallie Smith and Holly Williams.

Witnesses: Daniel Keenan, Daniella Furtado and Derya Sen.

Defense Team

Attorneys: Bryce Molnar, Anya Klimitchev and Charlie Megginson IV.

Witnesses: Devon Lynch, Nathan Greenlee and Daniel Keenan.

Time Keeper: Faith Kinsler.

9 SC mock trial gavel winners

Mock trial “Gavel” winners from Sussex Central High School, from left: Charlie Megginson IV, Holly Williams and Danny Keenan.

Several SCHS students also won individual awards. Holly Williams won a Best Attorney gavel; Charlie Megginson IV won three Best Attorney gavels and a Best All-Around Attorney gavel; and Danny Keenan won three Best Witness gavels, a Best All-Around Witness gavel and a Best Witness gavel of the championship round.

The SCHS team extends a special thank you to attorney coaches Ashley Bickel, Esq. of the Gonser & Gonser law firm, and Eric Hacker, Esq. of the Morris James law firm. Both firms are located in Georgetown.

Coach Elliott credited Sussex Central’s success this year and the team’s improvement over the past five years “to the dedication of our attorney coaches as well as mock trial alumni J.T. Tober and Jacob Orledge, who volunteer their time after office hours and on weekends. Without them and attorneys across the state who volunteer to coach at the various schools this exceptional educational opportunity would not exist for students.”

In addition, the SCHS Mock Trial Team sends a huge thank you to the administrative team of SCHS and the Indian River Board of Education for their continuous support of the program.


The Sussex County Post delivers news from Georgetown and southern Delaware. Follow @SussexPost on Twitter.

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