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Southview's mock trial team wins state, advances to national tourney

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Vicki Donovan Lyle, one of the coaches of Southview's mock trial team, holds the state trophy.

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The Southview High School mock trial team will advance to the national mock trial competition after beating out more than 30 teams across Ohio in the state championships this weekend.

The six-student team -- Yuran Chen, Eric Zhu, Shaleen Goel, Catherine Dong, Zach Toczekaj, and Ridwan Sedique -- won the 31st annual High School Mock Trial competition hosted by the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education last weekend in Columbus.

In the final round of the three-day competition, Southview defeated Orange High School on Saturday.

The team, coached by Denny Lyle, a partner at Anspach Law in Toledo, and co-coached by his wife and school board member Vicki, was presented with a trial that called into question student rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.

Mrs. Donovan Lyle said the case, Phillips School District v. Jesse Springfield et al, pitted students against the school system in protest to what the students believed was a “sell out” by the district to corporate America. Student protests against a licensing agreement between the district and a mock company National Fructose, spurred the district to install security cameras, search student property, and seek the removal of students from school property during a peaceful protest.

“This taught advocacy skills and a lot of students join the competition for the desire to compete in something non-athletic,” she said.

The mock trial allowed students the opportunity to present the both sides of the case, plaintiff and defendant.

It is the state’s largest high school academic competition, she said. The Southview students, who also won the world championships in October, will advance to the National High School Mock Trial Championships on May 8-10 in Madison, Wis.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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