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Central Carolina Homeschoolers pose with NC Chief Justice Paul Newby. The team includes, from left, Julia Pennington, Jonathan Duckett, Becca Bainbridge, Haley Kramer, Daisy Gaither, Madalynn O’Brien and Grace O’Brien.

Central Carolina Homeschoolers win 7th Mock Trial state title

RALEIGH — Central Carolina Homeschoolers (CCH) won their seventh state championship title at the North Carolina High School Mock Trial Competition held at Campbell Law School in Raleigh last week. 


More than 100 teams from across the state — including public, private and homeschool mock teams— participated in the regional tournaments leading up to the state finals.


Mock trial, a simulated legal proceeding, allows students to act out a trial scenario based on a fictional case, developing critical thinking, public speaking and advocacy skills. This year’s case involved a fictional murder of a paper company executive, allegedly committed by an environmental activist.


In the championship round, Central Carolina Homeschoolers served as prosecutors, competing against last year’s state champion, J.H. Rose High School from Greenville, representing the defense. NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby presided over the round, with multiple civic and community leaders scoring as jurors. 


“Both teams were stellar. Hats off to JH Rose. That was the best round I’ve ever seen,” said CCH coach Darren Allen, who is a Randolph County District Court Judge.


This year’s championship CCH team includes seniors Haley Kramer and Grace O’Brien, juniors Daisy Gaither and Madalynn O’Brien, and sophomores Becca Bainbridge, Jonathan Duckett and Julia Pennington.


Kramer (who received the award for Inspirational Team Leadership in the state final), Gaither and both O’Briens are from Randolph County. Bainbridge lives in Liberty, but she’s technically in Alamance County. Duckett is from Guilford County and Pennington from Alamance.


Alongside Allen, CCH is led by parent-coaches Tim Hunnicutt and Janet Phillips. The team practices at Cross Road Baptist Church and the Randolph County Courthouse.


The North Carolina High School Mock Trial Program is the longest running civil education program in the state. Active since 1993, the program aims to provide students with a chance to learn about law and the judicial system. Randolph County-area programs have a history of success, with Asheboro High School winning seven state championships between 1996 and 2004.


Central Carolina Homeschoolers will now represent North Carolina at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Wilmington, Delaware, beginning on May 2, competing against the other state championship programs from across the country. In their previous six trips to the nationals, Carolina Homeschoolers won the whole thing in 2017 and finished in the top 10 the other five times.