ARCHBOLD - When it comes to the lapel pin worn by judges, lawyers, teachers, and students involved in the Ohio Mock Trial program this year, the verdict is in and the case is closed.
Participants are sporting lapel pins featuring an original design by Brittany Wyse, an Archbold High School student. Her entry - an Ohio shape featuring patriotic colors and the scales of justice - was selected by representatives with the state's Mock Trial program as the design for the pins this year.
Bob Priest, Archbold's Mock Trial coach, handed out pins to Archbold students last week during a district Mock Trial competition at the Wood County Courthouse in Bowling Green.
Each year, a lapel pin is worn by the more than 3,000 Mock Trial participants. In addition to wearing the pins during district and state competitions, pins are traded with Mock Trial participants from across the country during national contests.
This is the third year that the Ohio Mock Trial program has asked students to submit designs for the pins, said Betsy McNabb, state coordinator. Miss Wyse's design will be featured, too, on the cover of the program for the state competition that will be held in March. When it comes to the national pin exchange, Ohio has the luxury of supplying pins with original designs, Ms. McNabb said. Some contestants trade trinkets from chambers of commerce or souvenirs from their home states.
In Ohio, more than 390 high school teams participate in 30 districts in the Mock Trial program, an academic competition designed to foster a better understanding of the American democratic legal system and to encourage development of analytical and communication skills.
Objectives of the Mock Trial program are to improve basic skills such as critical thinking, listening, speaking, and reading; develop a greater understanding and appreciation for the law, court procedures, and the judicial system; increase understanding of constitutional rights and responsibilities, and recognize students' academic and intellectual achievements.
Miss Wyse, 17, who plans to major in art at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, said that designing the pin was right up her alley. "I used what I learned in computer graphics to design the pin," she said, adding that she was pleased with her entry but wasn't expecting to win. "It's kind of overwhelming. It's a neat experience." She's considering a career in advertising or graphic design.
For the lapel pin, she picked bright stripes of colors to catch the eye. The scales of justice balanced, so to speak, her original design. Before she settled on her design, she looked over pins from previous Mock Trial competitions. "They were all different shapes. I wanted one to represent our state so I did the shape of Ohio," she said.
About 20 Archbold students participate in the Mock Trial program, said Mr. Priest. Miss Wyse does not participate in the program - other than designing the lapel pin worn this year by thousands of students from across Ohio.