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Students advance in law competition

By Melanie Ruberti

Melanie.ruberti@lagrangenews.com

NEWNAN – Student “lawyers” from LaGrange High School argued and defended a case successfully on Saturday inside the Coweta County Justice Center.

The LHS mock trial team recorded their inaugural win during a regional competition. The group will now move on to the district competition in February.

While the team did not take home top prize, the students qualified for the district competition by placing in the top three mock trial teams overall.

Some of the students also took home individual awards.

LHS Senior J.T. Fagundes, an attorney for the plaintiff, took home a Best Attorney Award for his performance in round 2 of the competition on Saturday, said Troup County Assistant District Attorney Jim Powers.

Senior Erin Lee, a witness for the defense, won a Best Witness Award for both rounds of the competition; while Sophomore Daysha Bledsoe, a witness for the plaintiff, took home a Best Witness Award for her performance in round two of the event.

This is the first year LaGrange High School has assembled a mock trial team. The group is comprised of students from all grade levels.

The team is guided by teacher supervisors Assistant Principal Jamie Bozeman and Darren Gravat, plus Senior Assistant District Attorney Melissa Himes and Assistant District Attorney Jim Powers with the Troup County District Attorney’s office, and Tyler Moffitt, a private criminal justice attorney and LHS graduate.

The students learned all aspects of the justice system, including: courtroom procedures and etiquette, basics of litigation for civil and criminal practice and rules of evidence, Senior Assistant District Attorney Melissa Himes told the Daily News.

The teachers and attorneys’ said they have enjoyed mentoring the students and watching their hard work pay off on Saturday.

“Ms. Himes, Mr. Moffitt, Mr. Bozeman, Mr. Gravat and I feel both squads performed extremely well. The student attorneys were confident and professional in their delivery of the case …,” stated ADA Powers. “… We could not be more proud of these students. The other coaches and students were quite surprised to learn this was the team’s first year competing.”

The Mock Trial program is run by the State Bar of Georgia.

The LHS team will compete again in the Mock Trial District Competition on February 18 in Marietta.

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.