The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 20, 2022

VWHS does well in Moot Court contest

AUDREY NICOLAI/special to the VW independent

COLUMBUS — Students in Van Wert High School’s AP Government class represented their school well at the first Moot Court Competition held in Ohio May 20 at the Ohio Supreme Court.  Eight students in Bob Priest’s class volunteered to be on a team where they had the opportunity to learn how to be persuasive while arguing case law in front of judges.

The teams were presented with a fictional case titled “Charlie Charleston v. State of Ohio”, where they had to choose to either represent the appellee or appellant in a case dealing with the Fourth Amendment and a fictional Ohio statute entitled “Stand Your Ground,” which is very similar to Florida’s actual law.

VWHS AP Government teacher Bob Priest (back row, left) with students who competed in the Ohio Moot Court competition. (photo submitted)
VWHS AP Government teacher Bob Priest (back row, left) with students who competed in the Ohio Moot Court competition. (photo submitted)

“Moot Court required a lot of preparation, but overall it was an opportunity I am very glad Mr. Priest presented us with,” Holly Lawson said.

This competition required that each team write a brief for its side, and that both the appellee and the appellant side give an oral argument in Columbus.

“This competition required the learning of many new concepts, which many seniors are resistant to at this point of the year,” senior Amanda Clay said. “Once we did the work and went to the competition, I was very glad I was able to participate and represent my school and I really enjoyed it.”

The results of the competition were released following the competition.  The team consisting of Clay, Hayley Walker, Meredith Arn, and Claire Gamble finished in eighth place. A second team comprised of Holly Lawson, Daniel Patterson, Kaitlynn Hall, and Lexi Meyers placed 11th at the state Moot Court Competition.

“I am glad I had the opportunity to do Moot Court this year,” Claire Gamble said. “I learned a lot about case law and learned how to apply it into other settings.  This really helped me learn how courts work and learn more about our government.”

Priest said he was glad this program was introduced in Ohio this year and was eager for his class to get involved.  Priest helped in preparation for the competition and helped the entire class develop the concepts and skills needed to succeed at the competition.  Priest also led this same class to the runner-up position at the “We The People” competition earlier this fall.

“Moot Court is nothing like Mock Trial,” Priest said. “I was so very humbled at the depth and difficulty in writing legal briefs.  We would not have been successful, if were not for the help of local attorney Kelly Rauch (Diller and Rice Law Firm).

“Kelly was outstanding; she gave hours of valuable time and even met with us on the weekend,” Priest added. “I was so very impressed with our students. Having never done this, I was not sure what to expect.  Our kids were awesome!

“The work they did is typically done in law school,” Priest went on to say. “Their level of reading comprehension, critical thinking skills and logical reasoning are the skills employers are searching for.”

It is not every day that teenagers are asked to argue a murder case in the Ohio Supreme Court, but Van Wert students were given this opportunity and excelled. The Moot Court competition will continue to grow in future years and students of VWHS will continue to represent the community in a positive way through great programs like this.

POSTED: 05/29/14 at 6:20 am. FILED UNDER: News