Michigan Center for Civic Education crowns 2021 High School Mock Trial state champions

By MCCE

The Michigan Center for Civic Education (MCCE) hosted its annual High School Mock Trial season virtually this year. Thirty-five (35) high school mock trial teams competed at Regional events beginning February 20, 2021. This past Saturday, March 20, 2021, the twelve schools that advanced out of regionals competed for the Michigan High School Mock Trial State title.

The top five finishing teams included: University of Detroit - Jesuit, International Academy, Trenton, Ann Arbor Community, and Ann Arbor Huron. Ann Arbor Huron had its historic first win edging out Ann Arbor Community on a 2-1 decision with a prestigious judging panel including the Honorable Judge Cynthia Stephens of Michigan’s First Circuit Court of Appeals, Darin Day, Director of Outreach at the State Bar of Michigan, and Robert J. Buchanan, current President of the State Bar of Michigan. This win qualifies Ann Arbor Huron to represent Team Michigan at the National High School Mock Trial Championship, being held virtually by the host state of Indiana.

MCCE also continued its two Mock Trial companion programs - Courtroom Artistry and Courtroom Journalism. Evaluated by Nancy Hart, Illustration Chair at Kendall College of Art  Design at Ferris State University and Tori Pelz, Artist and Content Strategist and Writer with Tricycle Analytics, these student artists received recognition - Jazz Cole of East Kentwood (honorable mention), Jessi Talluto of Wyoming High School (3rd),  Leelah Richardson of East Kentwood (2nd), and Selena Wang of Novi High School who won the state title. Ms. Wang will represent Team Michigan alongside Huron High School at the National Championships. 

This season, approximately 500 students took part in the competition with 140 trials and over 400 ballots cast in the series. Over 125 volunteers participated, many volunteering at numerous events.

At its virtual reception, sponsored by the State Bar of Michigan Litigation and Young Lawyers Sections, MCCE announced its community service and educational excellence awards. Earning the MCCE Mock Trial Teacher of the Year was Amy West of Allen Park High School. Volunteers of the Year included the Honorable Kameishia Gant of Oakland County, Janice Balog of United Healthcare, and Sasha Boersma of Conybeare Law Offices. Partner of the Year was awarded to the State Bar of Michigan’s Diversity Inclusion Advisory Committee for their support of the legal pathways for students. Sponsor of the Year was awarded to the Kalamazoo County Bar Association for their early commitment and support for the 2022 National High School Championship, to be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan next year.

MCCE, together with the partnership at the State Bar of Michigan, will host the premier National High School Mock Trial Championship, May 5-7, 2022 in Kalamazoo. This will be the first time the State of Michigan has hosted the event. Kalamazoo Central High School has been the most decorated Michigan Mock Trial team in history with numerous appearances in the final round and a national championship to its name. Hundreds of volunteers are needed for this event and sponsorships are available.

Mock Trial is a program of the Michigan Center for Civic Education. Since 1982, MCCE has hosted Michigan High School Mock Trial and related civic education events to bridge students to the legal community, civic knowledge, and civic engagement. In addition to Mock Trial, MCCE hosts the We the People and Project Citizen student programming events alongside teacher professional learning and development opportunities. 

MCCE thanks its sponsors including The SBM’s Litigation Section, Oakland County Bar Foundation, SBM’s Young Lawyers Section, Michigan State University College of Law, James Madison College, and more.

To learn more about MCCE and its programs, email Executive Director, Ellen Zwarensteyn, or visit www.miciviced.org.

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