On March 9, GPS teams Crispy and Wings competed in Mock Trial district finals at the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Chattanooga, making our school have an impressive TWO teams in the final four! Both teams had spent months preparing and were ready to take on the competition in the case of Bryson Sailor v. Drew Jennings in the Circuit Court for the State of Tennessee, County of Poultry.
AUSA Tammy Combs and Judge Brian House serve as the teams’ coaches; GPS history teacher Dr. Steve Harrison is the faculty advisor, with librarian Ms. Amanda Hayslett assisting. GPS started the Mock Trial competitions with four teams—the biggest showing to date for the club.
Representing the plaintiff, Team Wings, comprised of Lindsey Campbell ’20, Isabel Hester ’20, Annie Thrash ’21, Katie Day ’21, Reese Miller ’21, and Julia Combs ’22, took on Family Christian Academy, with Signal Mountain Judge Gary S. Humble presiding.
Representing the defense, Team Crispy, comprised of Shanzeh Rizvi ’20, Isis Cantrell ’21, Abbey Katelyn Pettus ’22, Katherine Bell ’20, Madison Proctor ’22, and Anya Parambath ’23, took on Signal Mountain High School, with United States Magistrate Judge Christopher H. Steger presiding.
Team Wings entered the competition undefeated and Team Crispy had only one loss. At the end of the long evening, Team Wings lost to FCA and Team Crispy defeated Signal Mountain High. Katie Day won Best Witness for GPS Wings and Shanzeh Rizvi won Best Attorney for GPS Crispy.
“The teams gave even more than we asked for because they were so determined to do their best yet,” Tammy Combs said. “Both teams did just that. It is a privilege to work with the exceptional students in this program.”
Ultimately it was decided to combine the two teams to make one unstoppable GPS team to go on to state, the first time a GPS Mock Trial team had made it to state! That decision was met with disappointment soon after when it was determined that the national competition would be canceled due to COVID-19 and the state competition would consider only an online competition.
A statement from the Tennessee Bar Association read, in part: Unfortunately, after much deliberation and consultation with the most current health advisories, it is with great regret that we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 State High School Mock Trial Tournament that was scheduled to take place on March 20-21. While we may not be able to host you all for an in-person Mock Trial Tournament in Nashville next weekend, we are working on a plan for you to put your persuasive skills to work in a slightly different way with a video competition we will be announcing within the coming days.
Congratulations to both teams and their coaches for their hard work, dedication, and outstanding performances in multiple competitions. We can’t wait to see what they do next!