Members of Strom Thurmond High School's mock trial team are headed to nationals. (WRDW-TV / April 19, 2012)
News 12 at 11 o’clock / Wednesday, April 19, 2012
JOHNSTON, S.C. -- Ten students from Strom Thurmond High School are heading to New Mexico to compete in the National Mock Trial Competition. They won the state championship just a few weeks ago and now they're getting ready to face some of the best teams in the world.
These students have been working hard and they have a good bit of help. They're coached by State Sen. Shane Massey and even a federal judge came in to help them out.
“It's really very encouraging for the future because when you watch these students, these high school students, perform as well as they are, it really gives you hope that we're gonna be OK,” Massey said.
They're preparing to go up against some of the best mock trial teams around the country and even some from around the world.
“It’s amazing,” said senior Megan Rudd. “This is the best experience that I can possibly imagine. Ever since I got on the team, we've been working towards this so to finally make it, it’s incredible.”
It's been 25 years since Strom Thurmond last won a state championship in mock trial.
“Last year we were one team away, we came in second place and it was a huge crush for us,” said junior Jacob Harding.
But that didn't stop them and this year they made it all the way to nationals.
“They work very hard, they're smart, they do good in school, they're involved in their community,” Massey said. “These are the people who we really need to be cultivating. These are the ones who we want to step forward later on.”
Now, they're counting the days before they represent South Carolina in New Mexico.
“What we normally do in five months to prepare for state, we're preparing for nationals in three weeks,” Harding said.
They still have a lot of work to do to get ready for the competition. They practice after school Monday through Thursday and on Sundays.
“We have quite a bit of a ways to go,” said junior Ashley Bodiford. “We're just kinda getting our feet wet with the case and it's a really complex case, but I think we're definitely gonna get it.”
A complex federal case, but they are learning from the best. Federal Judge Joe Anderson volunteered to help.
"He's a judge at the federal courthouse in Columbia now and for him to come back here is just an amazing thing,” said Mock Trial coach Denise Jackson. “We are kind in awe of him.”
Massey says these kids are the future
“I think you've got some future attorneys in there, but I also think you've got some future engineers. I think you've got some future doctors and people who are gonna be involved in all sorts of the community,” Massey said.
And some are dreaming even bigger.
“People on TV are gonna laugh at me, but I wanna be the president of the United States of America,” said junior Miller Thompson.
The competition is May 4 and 5 in Albuquerque. We wish them all the best and will keep everyone updated as to how they do.
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