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Pinecrest defends mock trial regional championship

SOUTH FORSYTH — The mock trial team from a private parochial school in south Forsyth recently became regional champions for the second year in a row.

Pinecrest Academy won Region 5 in Cartersville and is set to travel back to the northwest Georgia town on Feb. 27 to compete in the district-level competition.

About 28 local attorneys, sitting judges and other legal professionals volunteered to judge the competition, which was sponsored by the Georgia Bar Association.

Students were judged on their knowledge of court procedure, rules of evidence, case facts, the law as it pertains to the facts and oratory performance, according to Harry Egner, coach of the team.

Egner, who also teaches social studies at Pinecrest, said the team representing the kindergarten-12thgrade school on Peachtree Parkway has been preparing for the competition since September.

During the six rounds of regional competition, team members earned 11 recognition awards, including:

* Madeline Brabrook: two best attorney awards and a four-year participation certificate

* Brian Flanagan: a four-year participation certificate

* Danielle Miller: a best attorney award and a four-year participation certificate

* Margaret Pfiel: a best attorney award

* Julianna Tollett: a four-year participation certificate

* Michael Trainor: a best witness award

* Martin Wehner: a best witness award

* Ashley Zuckerman: a best witness award

“Our team is young, having lost five graduating seniors last year, so we anticipated it being a year of rebuilding. However, the new recruits worked tirelessly to learn their statements, mock trial rules, rules of evidence and court procedure,” said Dawn Childress, the team’s lead attorney coach.

She said the returning members helped share their experience with the newcomers.

“Kudos go out, especially, to Julianna Tollett and Madeline Brabrook for their tireless coaching of new attorneys and to Danielle Miller and Martin Wehner, who had to switch up roles at the last minute due to a medical emergency with one of the competing team members,” Childress said.

She also said the coaches, both teacher and attorney, were main assets in the team’s success.

“The judges consider how well the students know the facts and how well they are able to apply the law and the mock trial rules of evidence,” Childress said. “Many of the students feel that their participation in mock trial is the most valuable experience they have in high school.”

She said in her five years of coaching, several students have decided to pursue law as a result of those experiences.