Kennett High School Mock Trial Team Places Fourth
Kennett High School’s Mock Trial Senior Team placed fourth out of eighteen teams in the Chester County Round of this year’s statewide Mock Trial Competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.
Throughout the month of February, 249 high schools across Pennsylvania will engaged in district and regional levels of competition. Pennsylvania’s mock trial program, now in its thirty-fifth year, is one of the largest in the nation, according to the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s website.
On November 3, 2017, the students were given information about a realistic yet fictional case to read and prepare. This year’s case involves a civil proceeding to determine whether the plaintiff, Silva Morel, was wrongfully terminated from employment at Tiger Tail Technologies. Morel was let go by Tiger Tail Technologies, a firm based in Chester County, after she “blew the whistle” because she supposedly witnessed a Tiger Tail Technologies officer bribing a foreign official. Tiger Tail Technologies claimed no bribe occurred, and Morel’s employment was terminated for reasons other than “whistle blowing.”
Kennett High School has two teams contending this month: the Senior Team, comprised of juniors Victoria Freire and Avery Chapman, and seniors Joe Schlitz, Hannah Church, Eli Smith, Kevin Fiss, Quinn Huffaker, Ryley Harris, Jake Kalscheur, Ben Jordan, Ben Gaver, Tyler Bowdoin, and Brice Chapman; and a Junior Team, made up of underclassmen Chase Harris, Evan Sharp, Matt Jordan, Sam Griffin, McKenna Norton, Gustavo Andres Castaneda, Ariatna Ortiz Jasso, Victoria Kelly, Lily Ehren, Tomi Adetayo, Catt Seamon, Katherine Holguin, and Jack Giles.
“All of these students are involved in many clubs, sports, and activities and do an exceptional job managing this difficult extra-curricular activity,” said Mrs. Mary Kay Gaver, an attorney and one of the high school’s Mock Trial team advisors.
Mrs. Gaver added, “Mock Trial is unique because there is no right answer. The cases are intentionally set up to be ambiguous, so both sides have the ability to win. The fact that there is no ‘right’ solution to the problem and the jurors’ decision is somewhat subjective is very frustrating for most high school students. KHS Mock Trial students have shown a remarkable ability to work through that ambiguity to build a persuasive case.”
Kennett’s teams competed on February 6 and February 13 at the Justice Center in West Chester. On February 6, half of each of the KHS teams participated as plaintiffs, while on February 13, the remaining students on Kennett’s two teams vied as defendants. Kennett went 3-1 in its trials, with the Senior Team winning both of its trials with unanimous jury verdicts.
Kennett’s Senior Team won again on Wednesday, February 21, ensuring the team a spot in the next playoff round.
The Mock Trial club is advised by Kennett High School business teacher Mr. Bill Fritsch; Mrs. Mary Kay Gaver, mother of Paul (KHS Class of 2011), Henry (KHS Class of 2014), and Ben (KHS Class of 2018); Lenny Rivera, father of Justin (KHS Class of 2011), Sydney (KHS Class of 2013), and Julia (KHS Class of 2014); Dave Harris, father of Ryley Harris (KHS Class of 2018) and Chase Harris (KHS Class of 2020); and Michelle Barone, an Assistant District Attorney in the Chester County DA’s Office.