State College Wins Regional Mock Trial Competition
The 2020 Pennsylvania Mock Trial competition came to Williamsport on March 5, for the Northcentral regional championship round. Repeating competitor State College High School met newcomer St. Marys Area High School in a well fought trial before U. S. Magistrate Judge William Arbuckle. While both teams performed well, State College won the regional tournament on points.
The Mock Trial case involved a claim by by Addison Babbage, a student at Ruffed Grouse High School, a private school in Wisawe, Pennsylvania. Teagan Eckert, the school principal, was tough, fierce, mean, and she controlled every aspect of Ruffed Grouse High. To stay out of trouble, to survive, you had to stay low or succeed. Addison chose to succeed at chess. Ultimately, the competitive culture fostered by Principal Eckert was channeled through social media, where students tormented their fellow classmates, with cyberbullying. The negative forces that existed at Ruffed Grouse would eventually ensnare Addison. When Addison’s family began construction on a piece of property that was important to the local community known affectionately as “The Eye”, that underground network of negativity turned its attention on Addison. From whispers in the hallway to fake Facebook accounts, Addison was the subject of constant attacks by other students hiding behind their computer screens. Addison testified that those constant attacks were too much to handle, and he snapped and destroyed Ruffed Grouse’s state-of-the-art chess lab. Addison’s education was interrupted. College scholarships were lost. Even chess, Addison’s refuge, was tainted forever. Addison claims that Ruffed Grouse High’s negligence destroyed a once-promising life.
State College represented the plaintiff Babbage and St. Marys defended the High School. Members of the Lycoming County bar as well as local paralegals served as jurors for the trial.
The State College team included students Isabelle Snyder, Grace Shang, Allison Mi, Evan Jones, Miranda Marks, Clarissa Theiss, Elijah Snyder and Ella Simpson, and was coached by Jen Rand. St. Marys' team consisted of Allison Adamski, Dylan Aiello, Aiden Bobik, Simon Sheeley, Carly Bankovich, Lucas Huff and Maria Allegretto, and was coached by Christopher Taylor.
State College now heads to the statewide championship in Harrisburg, which takes place in late March.