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The Valwood Mock Trial team competed in the Georgia Mock Trial state finals recently. The Valiants earned their place in the state finals after finishing as the District VI runners-up at an earlier competition.
Their ticket was punched with a victory over the defending state champion team from Jonesboro High School, school officials said in a statement.
Following the trend of this year’s state-wide mock trial competition, where some cases were held virtually via Zoom and others were held in-person in courtrooms, COVID-19 protocols forced a restructuring of the district competition, and so the Valiants traveled to metro Atlanta to compete twice in two weeks.
The state finals were held at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville. Valwood competed against the Galloway School, St. Vincent’s Academy and Southeast Whitfield High School. Other schools in the competition included Decatur High, Midtown High, Northview High, Lumpkin County High and Bremen High.
“We were very excited to find ourselves in the state finals for the third time in four years,” Valwood Coach Daryn Beasley said.
Valiants Anabelle Melendez and Maggie Mays received peer-awarded outstanding witness recognition and Team Captain Lilly Respess received peer-awarded outstanding attorney recognition as well as an outstanding attorney award from the scoring evaluators.
Respess was also lauded by the Young Lawyers Division of Georgia Mock Trial with her admission into the Student Bar of Georgia.
“Lilly performed at an exceptionally high level throughout the months of competition and received great honors for it,” Beasley said. “Furthermore, her role as our team leader was the kind of intangible that coaches dream of.”
Valwood’s Mock Trial team is a large one with competing players from ninth through 12th grade, filling the roles of attorneys and witnesses, timekeepers and court artists. With a region championship firmly in its grasp, the Mock Trial Valiants briefly paused to reflect on their accomplishments.
“This entire team really distinguished itself,” Attorney Coach Cathy Helms said. “The students improved after each round of competition, mastering the facts, law and rules of evidence, but also discovering subtle nuances and seeking ways to utilize them. Best of all, they continually encouraged each other all season. We are so proud of them.”
The members of the Valwood Mock Trial team are seniors Anna Alvarado, Chloe Lynn Collins, Ruby Parrish, Lilly Respess, Lily Ward and Chesley Wetherington; juniors Audrey Ambron, Anabelle Melendez, Catherine Morris, Rouse Vallotton and Cat Moore; sophomores Alex Gee, Thomas Griner and Maggie Mays; freshmen Alberto Garcia, Sam Jordan, Christabel Ofori.