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Forsyth Central High Schools mock trial team advances to district
Forsyth Central High School's mock trial team - photo by For the FCN

CUMMING — It’s not unusual for the Forsyth County Courthouse to be filled with members of the legal community, but last weekend they may have seemed younger than usual.

On Jan. 29 and 30, the old and new courthouses in downtown Cumming, as well as the county administration building, played host to Georgia High School Mock Trial regional competition.

Among the local teams, Forsyth Central High School placed the highest and advanced to the district competition.

“It went very well,” said the team’s coach, Michele Dugan. “We have had a tradition in the past few years of getting into the top two. Unfortunately, this year we fell to top three.

“But we are still going on to district, and we brought home a lot of awards. I’m very proud of the way the students performed.”

First place in the competition went to Northview High School from Duluth and the runner-up was Cambridge High in nearby Milton.

Also taking part were teams from Lambert and South, North and West Forsyth high schools.

Mock trail coordinator for the Cumming Region, Melissa Banker, said the competition featured about 120 students and more than 70 law firms.

“Our entire Forsyth County judiciary participated, which is extraordinary in my mind,” Banker said. “We had 100 percent representation from both of our prosecutor’s office, as well as 100 percent from several of our local law firms.

“It’s good for the attorneys because it says there are some kids coming along who want to try this.”

The top three teams will face their counterparts from the Athens-area region — Westminster Christian Academy, Clarke Central and Eastside — at the district competition Feb. 27. That event will be the first of its kind held in Forsyth County.

While not every mock trial participant may pursue a law career, Banker said those who succeed will have an advantage for whatever career path they choose.

“For the students, they are working from October until last weekend to develop this case and to put this together and essentially act like we who are lawyers do in a courtroom day in and day out,” she said.

“It’s good for them to be judged by members of the bar [association], because that says to them that they matter enough for attorneys to take the time.”

Members of Central’s team took home several honors. They included: Mathew Johnson, the four-year award; Keegan Householder, two attorney awards; Austin McTier, an attorney award; and Thomas Bray, Makayla Kennedy and Nicole Strunk, witness awards.