December 13, 2020

Decorah Middle School teams had strong performances at the State Mock Trial competition early in December, earning two trophies and six outstanding performance medals.

All three Decorah teams were undefeated in the Regional competition and had one win and one loss at State.

Six Decorah students were honored with All-State individual medals, the most of any of the 24 competing teams: Caleb Fey and Natalie Goodner for Outstanding Attorney and June Breitenbach-Dirks, Oliver Brummel, Greta Jones, Naomi Pedlar for Outstanding Witness. To earn this award, a student must be nominated by both judges as one of their top choices in a single round. Decorah students won six of the 26 medals awarded for outstanding performance.

In addition, Decorah teams Forgotten Exit Signs and Third Degree Byrne also won the 9th and 12th place trophies. All tournament competitions were held via Zoom this year.

“I am extremely proud of this year’s DMS Mock Trial teams,” said teacher coach Carole Sand. “Our knowledge of the case and acting were exceptional. Winning two trophies and six outstanding witness and attorney awards is a testament to the students’ hard work, talent, and commitment.”

This year’s case was a civil trial about a mother who sued a concert venue for negligence after her son died of asphyxiation during a fire started by a pyrotechnics display. For the competition, students write scripts as attorneys and witnesses and perform trials as plaintiff and defense against opposing teams. Students chose team names based on the case.

Many Decorah participants were nominated or honored for outstanding honors at the regional and state tournaments, some by numerous judges.

Outstanding attorney honors went to 8th graders Hannah Arendt, Edyn Bateman, Grace Blikre, Oliver Brummel, Liam Chamberlain, Elsa Johnson, Lillian Olson, McKenzie Riley, Amelia Wadsworth, and Margret Zook.

Seventh grade outstanding attorneys included Carson Bohner, June Breitenbach-Dirks, Mara Branum, Mikayla Hiner, Trevor Kuennen, Nora Lesmeister, Ana Simon, and Mitchell Stemper.

Outstanding witness honors went to 8th graders Hannah Arendt, Grace Blikre, Liam Chamberlain, Kealy Hines, Lillian Olson, Lily Sandhorst, Kamryn Steines, Kamryn Werges, and Margret Zook.

Seventh grade outstanding witnesses included Carson Bohner, Trevor Kuennen, Nora Lesmeister, Danika Mueller.

            DMS Mock Trial is part of the school’s Extended Learning Program. Supporting the program are volunteer expert mentors Judge Marty Lingreen, attorney Sandra Clasen, and Luther student Peter Stelter. Decorah High School assistant coaches include Grace Gerleman, Gabe Hiner, Anya Lovstuen, Liz Pritchard, Ethan Stravers, and Ruby Sullivan.

            “We owe much of our success to all of the mentors, assistant coaches, and high school volunteer students who donate countless hours to work individually with our students,” said Sand. “We also appreciate the Depot Outlet for a recent grant and Amundson’s Clothing for helping our guys look their best.”

1 Third Degree media
DMS 7th grade Mock Trial team Third Degree Byrne includes (seated, l-r) Ana Simon, Nora Lesmeister, Mara Branum, June Breitenbach-Dirks; (standing, l-r) Mitch Stemper, Carson Bohner, Trevor Kuennen, Danika Mueller, Naomi Pedlar, and Mikayla Hiner.

2 Exit Signs media
DMS 8th grade team Forgotten Exit Signs includes (seated, l-r) Hannah Arendt, Oliver Brummel, Edyn Bateman, Grace Blikre; (standing, l-r) Natalie Goodner, Lily Sandhorst, Kamryn Werges, Kealy Hines, Caleb Fey, and Leah Suhr.
3 Burn Baby media
DMS 8th grade team Burn Baby Byrne includes (seated, l-r) Lillian Olson, Gwen Thompson, Annika Keefe, Greta Jones; (standing, l-r) Elsa Johnson, Amelia Wadsworth, Liam Chamberlain, McKenzie Riley, Kamryn Steines, and Margret Zook.