Strom Thurmond High School wins state mock trial competition

March 13, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 13, 2012) – Strom Thurmond High School won the S.C. Bar High School Mock Trial State Competition on March 10, marking the fourth time the school has won the state title. Bob Jones Academy was named runner-up.

Participating students from Strom Thurmond included Ashley Bodiford, John Gillespie, Jacob Harding, Jamarr McCain, Melanie McKinney, Arturo Pineda, Kaitlyn Pugh, Megan Rudd, Erin Sweeney and Miller Thompson. The teacher coaches were Jeffrey Bryan, Denise Jackson and Steven McKinney. The attorney coaches were Sen. Shane Massey and Blair Massey. Sen. Massey, a graduate of Strom Thurmond High School, is a former mock trial participant. Jackson was also a mock trial teacher coach two of the years the school earned the state title in the 1980s.

Participating students from Bob Jones included Kayla Fenstermaker, Jessica Fryml, Kristen Ince, Abigail Ludwig, Nichole Martinson, Tim Nichols, Jamie Noel, David Schaedel, Stephen Sidwell and Faith Worley. The teacher coaches were Michael Murphy, Ben Adams, Valerie Myers and Jennifer Olinger. The attorney coach was Jon Gregory.

Strom Thurmond has advanced to the national competition May 3-6 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Bob Jones Academy has won the state title five times in previous years and was named national champion in 2004.

Students portrayed the roles of attorneys to present the plaintiff and defense sides of a fictitious case before a panel of local volunteer lawyers and judges. Additionally, students filled the roles of the defendant, witnesses, bailiff and timekeepers. Each team was judged on its presentation skills, rather than the legal merits of the case.
This year’s fictitious civil case was Tony Morganelli v. Sandstone Insurance Group. Morganelli sued for insurance proceeds after claiming his restaurant was destroyed in a fire caused by a struggle with an intruder. Sandstone Insurance Group denied his claim and believed Morganelli burned down the restaurant to claim the insurance proceeds. For more information about the mock trial case or program, visit

The roles of courtroom sketch artist and courtroom journalist were introduced in the 2011 competition and returned this year to broaden participation across a more diverse group of students. The following students advanced in the Artist competition: Anna Akins (Carolina Forest), Allessandro Bussi (Wade Hampton), Libby Bergmann (Beaufort), Megan Greer (Montessori School of Anderson), Clarie Randall (Wade Hampton) and Haigler Woods (Hilton Head Christian School). The following students advanced in the Journalist competition: Kayla Fenstermaker (Bob Jones Academy), Aleya Foulks (Dreher), Abby Holdeman (Chapin), Abigail Ludwig (Bob Jones Academy), Kiersten Rule (S.C. Governor’s School of Math and Science) and Keyson Whiteside (Strom Thurmond). The entries produced during the state competition will be judged this week.

The mock trial program is sponsored by the S.C. Bar’s Law Related Education (LRE) Division, which was developed in 1976 to improve the ability of teachers to instruct law related education.
The mock trial program is made possible through an IOLTA grant from the S.C. Bar Foundation, and additional funding is made possible by the S.C. Bar.
The South Carolina Bar, which has a membership of more than 14,000 lawyers, is dedicated to advancing justice, professionalism and understanding of the law.