Nordonia mock trial team advances to regional competition

by Nicole Rosselot

Nordonia High School’s mock trial teams competed well this season under the guidance of faculty advisor Endre Szentkiralyi, an English and German teacher at NHS, and legal advisor Farhad Sethna, an immigration attorney with a private practice in Cuyahoga Falls.

NHS sent two teams to the district competition at the Summit County Courthouse in Akron on Jan. 26. Team One placed second out of 20 teams and earned a trip to the regional competition, also at the Summit County Courthouse on Feb. 16. At the regional competition, Team One defeated Cloverleaf High School but lost to Revere High School, bringing their season to an end.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” Sethna said. “They’re a good bunch of kids and they are very hard-working. It’s a great program.”

Although the NHS mock trial teams did not advance to the state competition in Columbus, several students earned individual awards at the district and regional competitions.

At the district competition, senior Keirstin Trehan won both Outstanding Witness and Outstanding Attorney awards; senior Devin Sethna, Farhad Sethna’s son, and freshman David Yax won Outstanding Witness awards; and sophomores Aden Khatri and Olivia Tidmore each won Outstanding Attorney awards. At the regional competition, Trehan earned an Outstanding Witness award and Tidmore earned an Outstanding Attorney award.

According to Szentkiralyi, the NHS students spent five months preparing for a two hour trial, trying to anticipate all the ways the other side might respond. The mock trial competitions are sponsored by the Ohio Center For Law-Related Education, an organization that encourages students to learn about Ohio’s laws and government.

Each year, OCLRE prepares an original case that is assigned to all participating high school teams. The NHS mock trial teams reviewed witness statements, case law and evidence to prepare for their day in court.

Mock trial provides the students with more than just the opportunity to compete against their peers. Sethna explained that participating in mock trial challenges students to work as a team and apply complex concepts.

“This is not something you see on television,” he said. “For my mock trial kids it is a learning experience, … they learn how to think critically and express themselves better and those are wonderful skills to have.”

For students like freshman Olive Wilson, mock trial created an environment in which she could challenge herself and form lasting friendships. “Mock trial is a great opportunity to build character and create incredible relationships with people who are willing to motivate and challenge you every step of the way,” Wilson said. ∞

Photo: The NHS Mock Trial team members (l-r) Christian Chang, Kennedy Auman, Shaylee Henderson, Olivia Tidmore, Keirstin Trehan, Mia Bugarcic and Devin Sethna earned several individual awards. Photo submitted.