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Hudson Mock Trial tackled the 2013-2014 Northeast Ohio District Mock Trial competition, sweeping the Best Attorney awards, notching dual Best Witness awards, and advancing to the Regional Championship on Feb. 21 at the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.
"We came to this competition ready to lay down the law," said coach and Hudson alumnus Sarah Hulburt. "The victories and awards flow naturally, but secondarily, from this purpose."
The hotly litigated cased saw high school students' right to engage in free speech and peaceful assembly imperiled under the First Amendment, with the school district ultimately bringing a restraining order against its students. The students, led by Defendant Jesse Springfield, formed an Occupy movement, to protest the district's lucrative corporate deal with a soft-drink company for the naming rights of the sports stadium, as well as the corporation's supply of unhealthy drinks to the student body.
"The case this year involves important social issues that tie into the First Amendment," said Hulburt. "Namely, students' rights to protest, and the extent to which a school can regulate these rights, arise."
Hudson brought three individual teams - among the largest contingency at the competition- all named after famous civil war Generals. Team Sherman scorched earth by sweeping the Best Attorney awards in senior Bridget Sciscento, co-counsel of captain Carolyn Turkaly, with junior David Johanson earning Best Witness for his uncanny portrayal of an undercover detective.
"Attorneys Sciscento and Turkaly, and witness Johanson, are founding members of Hudson Mock Trial," said Hulburt. "They teach new members expectations about team unity, acceptance and loyalty."
Team McClllelan, the youngest of the contingency, twice sparred with Archbishop Hoban in a heated battle that saw rookie Attorneys Alex Remmers and Daniel Huang engaged in cross-examinations.
"A fearless rookie eventually translates into an unbeatable veteran," Hulburt said.
The qualifying spot in the Regional Championship was secured by Team Grant, who won also swept Best Attorney awards in Taehan Lee and Danny Kim. Yun Cao secured a Best Witness award for his noteworthy role as school principal, joining fellow-award-winning witness Kelly Niewolak. Danny conducted a direct examination of his twin brother, Chris, in the morning session, and co-counseled with him in the afternoon.
"Team Grant is so tricky and strategic," Hulburt said. "Their average GPA is 4.5. How do you beat that?"