Lewiston High School’s mock trial team has advanced to the state finals in the Maine High School Mock Trial Competition. On Wednesday, Lewiston will compete against Cape Elizabeth for the state title in Portland. (Submitted photo) 

LEWISTON — The Lewiston High School mock trial team has advanced through the first three rounds of the Maine High School Mock Trial Competition and will compete in the state finals on Wednesday.

Lewiston High School beat Brewer High School on Dec. 1 in the mock trial semifinal round. Wednesday will be the third time Lewiston High School has gone to state competition since teacher Michelle Crowley has led the team, she said.

“I’m so proud of them. They worked hard this whole season,” Crowley said. “They push each other to do their best.”

On Wednesday Lewiston’s mock trial team will face Cape Elizabeth High School’s team at the Cumberland County Courthouse in the Supreme Court room. Cape Elizabeth has won the state title for five consecutive years, Crowley said.

The mock trial case is the “State of Maine vs. Alex Buckley,” a fictional case about a prep school fire that killed a young woman, Carly Walsh, who was about to earn the valedictorian spot and receive a full-tuition college scholarship.

The defendant is charged with intentionally starting the fire that killed Walsh to claim the valedictorian spot and the scholarship, Crowley said. 

Students on the mock trial team work hard. “They treat it as they would a sport, it’s intellectual athletics,” Crowley said. Team members gain confidence thinking and speaking, she said, “learning to think on their feet, being persuasive, and working together.”

The team’s lawyer coaches are Paul Dionne of Dionne & Couturier Law Offices (Dionne is Crowley’s father), along with Ron Lebel and Amy Dieterich of Skelton, Taintor and Abbott. The coaches volunteer much time to help students plan, strategize and deliver courtroom speeches, Crowley said.

Some students who have participated in Lewiston’s mock trial team have made the legal field their career, Crowley said. “I’ve got two in law school right now, Thomas LeBlond and Rachel Mills.”

Members of this year’s team are: Shawn Chabot, Elena Clothier, Olivia Deschenes, Bryce Dufour, Abigail Dundore, Calvin Dundore, Nasser Guelleh, Erin Lachance, Hunter Landry, Andrew Letourneau, Katherine Morin, Rachel Ouellette, Samuel Payne, Kyra Physic, Sara Robert, Robert Shepard and Hunter Steele. 

The winner of Wednesday’s competition will be announced at the end of the trial.

Deciding the winners are real judges, Crowley said. Typically the judges include the chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, a federal judge and the dean of the University of Maine School of Law.

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