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Gering mock trial students take on tough case for 2021-22 season
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Gering mock trial students take on tough case for 2021-22 season

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The death of a 19-year-old girl is the mystery of this who-dunnit-type case, and it’s up to three high schoolers to defend her older sister who was implicated in the death, and three others to prosecute her.

The 2021 Mock Trial case is a difficult one this year, as high school attorneys attempt to find a way to convict or acquit a fictional college student of manslaughter of her own younger sister. Jules, 22, threw a party which involved vape, and her younger sister Dickie, who has asthma, snuck in and tried a vaping pen. It ended up causing medical difficulties and she died.

One team must persuade the jury that Jules is at fault because she through the party, while the other team must persuade the opposite.

Gering students said that the case is a bit tougher than previous ones because it involves a lot of technicalities.

“All of our attorneys have pretty full caseloads this year,” junior Hannah Boyd said.

As many students will attest, mock trial isn’t an easy activity to be in. It requires a lot of prep, practice and research.

"We were at the school, almost every single day six to 10, six to 10. Every day for probably three weeks, three weeks,” Boyd said. “It was hard.”

“And we’re still not even done,” junior Kaitlyn Peterson added.

That kind of dedication to the craft is what makes Gering coach Andy Stobel proud of his team.

“Preparing a mock trial case takes an enormous amount of time and effort, and the kids have stepped up to the challenge, as they always do,” he said. “Participating in mock trial is really like having an extra class with homework because the students, especially the attorneys, have so much paperwork to complete. But, the students have been meeting together outside of our regular practice times, and as a coach, I love to see that kind of dedication and commitment to excellence.”

For these students, a lot of the motivation comes from the coaches.

“Our coaches have definitely brought us so far,” Boyd said.

Peterson added, “We would not have the case that we have at all without (them). … We’re there til like 10 at night, bless their souls. They have families and stuff that they got to go home to. We just love them dearly.”

The Gering mock trial team participated in a kind of practice competition on Tuesday, Nov. 2, along with Scottsbluff and Sidney. It was supposed to be a preliminary competition leading up to districts, but not enough local attorneys could be found to serve as judges, as many are backed up on caseloads this year.

Districts is slated for Monday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 a.m. at the Scotts Bluff County Courthouse in Gering.

Emily Krzyzanowski contributed to the reporting of this story.

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Olivia Wieseler is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9051 or by emailing olivia.wieseler@starherald.com.

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