Springfield High School Wins 2018 Ohio Moot Court Competition
By Anne Yeager | May 10, 2018
The best-of-the-best competitors faced off at the third annual high school moot court competition on Friday, May 4 at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.
The winner: Springfield High School.
The fictitious case was about whether an 18-year-old's YouTube video promoting a terrorist organization is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"There is no evidence that he has the knowledge that it was a terrorist organization, nor that his acts would result in furthering its cause," argued Allie Mikolanis, of Gilmour Academy, the eventual runner-up.
But Ohio Supreme Court Justice Patrick F. Fischer, serving as the chief justice in the competition, had questions.
"Wait, but didn't he say he wanted to choke the president?" Justice Fischer asked.
As you can tell, this isn't your average speech contest. These teenagers have to think on their feet.
"That is an ability that will help them if they become lawyers or not," Justice Fischer said during a break in the competition. "It's the ability to stand in front of people and answer questions off the cuff and make your mind think logically and reasonably on a quick basis. It's heartening."
Eleven schools across Ohio participated, with Gilmour Academy and Springfield that made it to the finals.
"Your honors, it's clear that Mr. Toste knew that the organization engaged in terrorism," argued Austin Tyree of Springfield High.
Tyree was awarded honors for his skills as an attorney.
The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education hosts the moot court competition to test students' skills in legal brief-writing and oral arguments.
While these attorneys are novices, Justice Fischer said a student once used a technique that he used when he was a practicing lawyer.
"I asked a young lady a question and I'm sure she had no idea how to answer it," Justice Fischer said. "I wasn't trying to pin her and she didn't flinch. She said, 'Justice, that's a great question.' But you can see in her mind that she's using that time to figure out the answer, and she gave the answer."
Many of the moot court students expressed interest in legal careers.
"This is my last day of high school," said Sabrina Bauman, of Gilmour Academy. "I've been accepted at the University of Cincinnati next year and will be studying computer science. Then I'll be going to law school."