New RHS mock trial coach leads team through season
The Rhinelander High School mock trial team completed its first season under a new coach. Area attorney Ali Francois signed on with the team late last fall after the district was struggling to find a coach following the retirement of long-time coach Kathy Vick-Martini.
“Although I had no experience with mock trial, I am a practicing attorney, so I decided to take on the role,” Francois stated in a press release. “I did not realize the sizable shoes I had to fill until after I agreed to coach the team; however, the students served as beneficial assets to my coaching experience.”
In addition to utilizing methods that had worked well for the team in the past, Francois incorporated new practices that reflected some of the “learning styles and substantive skills” she acquired in law school.
The team participated in a scrimmage at the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay in January. Carmen Ibarra, a junior, received the award for Best Prosecution Witness.” The team placed fourth at the regional competition held at the Marathon County Courthouse in Wausau Feb. 9. Since only the top two teams advance to the state competition, the RHS team’s season ended there. D.C. Everest and Phillips will represent the region at the state tournament in March.
This year’s case was a criminal case that involved a school shooting. Team captain Ben Kubisiak, the only senior, played the role as attorney for both the prosecution and defense.
“I believe the team will have both a highly qualified and promising roster next season,” stated Francois. “Our junior members were a huge asset to the team this season, and many underclassmen picked up the basics of mock trial, in addition to the nuances of the rules of evidence, in a impressive and timely manner.”