OPRF mock trial places 2nd in state

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The Oak Park and River Forest High School mock trial team placed second in the state out of 46 schools and more than 500 students.

OPRF students argued a landmark class-action lawsuit against the National Transportation Safety Board's security measures implemented in the aftermath of Sept. 11. The "case" was argued March 4 and 5 at the University of Illinois' Public Affairs Center in Springfield for the 2005 High School Mock Trial Invitational competition, according to a school statement.

The students met at least four evenings a week from November through February and participated in three tournaments to prepare for the state mock trial event. They worked from legal documents and questions to develop their roles and arguments culminating in the trial competition downstate earlier this month.

Students work to develop strong analytical, debating, and acting skills as they work out the arguments relevant to the case that challenged the government's administration of the "no fly" list and to detain, question, and search travelers whose names appear on the lists.

Team members are seniors Julie Chwasz, Whitney Allen, Peter Ribic, Nora Moore, Alex McLeese, Dave Hirsch, Emily Gilman, Emily Steffen, Dan Bender, Nick Liedtke, and Sara Gulezian.

Richard Mertz, OPRF history teacher and Oak Parker, sponsored the team. McLeese also received an outstanding achievement award for his role as an attorney.

The students will be honored immediately prior to the District 200 Board of Education meeting on Thursday, March 24, at 7:15 p.m. on the second-floor Student Center Balcony. Also honored will be Jamar Johnson, who won fourth place in state individual wrestling events, and Chris Barlow, who won first in the radio speaking event at the state speech tournament.

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