by Justyna Tomtas for the Lewiston Tribune & Moscow/Pullman Daily News April 8, 2019
A team from Logos School has secured a trip to the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Georgia, while also landing job offers from one of the highest-ranking justices in the state.
The private Christian school has established itself as a fierce competitor at the mock trial state championship, securing 18 wins in the program’s 25-year history.
“When you finish up and are getting ready to look for a job, send me a letter,” said Idaho State Supreme Court Justice Robyn Brody. “We’re looking for law clerks. I mean that sincerely, because you all have done something special.”
Brody, who was the presiding judge at the final round of the state competition, said she wished others she encountered while on the bench had the skills the students from Logos displayed. Brody was accompanied by Idaho Supreme Court Justice Gregory Moeller, who judged the semifinal event.
“Both of us came away wishing every lawyer that stepped into our courtrooms could be as prepared and as ready to argue their cases as you all were,” Brody said. “It was truly, truly a privilege to watch.”
The students were honored last week for their win at the state tournament, but the hard work put forth by the eight-member team is far from over.
“Think about this as a charge, because we still have some season ahead of us,” coach Chris Schlect said during the celebration. “Our first practice is later tonight to get ready for a new case at nationals.”
The students seemed prepared and ready to take on the new challenge and much stiffer competition, but not before they received some glowing accolades from some of their mentors.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson has helped the team since 2007, and became an attorney coach in 2013. He’s spent countless hours helping the students hone their craft. “What I do for a living, I see a lot of darkness in the world and you are the exact opposite,” Thompson said. “You glow and make things good because you are good. It really brightens my life.”
In a heated competition at the state tournament in Boise, the “A team” from Logos just narrowly managed to defeat the school’s “B team” in the semifinals. The A team then went on to secure the championship.
Though there was much reason to celebrate, the school also showed gratitude in emotional speeches to longtime coach Schlect, who has coached the team for 24 years.
Bennett Schlect, a senior on the team, led the charge with a speech to his coach and father. “He’s taught us to be the most thankful team in the courtroom, to give it everything we have and to do our best in the glory of God, knowing that is what matters most,” Bennett said. “… He created a mock trial team and program that will not crumble.”
As a departing gift, coach Schlect was given a book with handwritten notes from coaches, students and attorneys who have worked with him throughout his leadership of the program.
“You’ve been called the Nick Saban of mock trials. You’ve been called a servant, an influencer, a friend and a leader,” Bennett said. “The coach of the Ambrose School of Boise called you the greatest competitor that he’s ever had to face.”
After nearly 2½ decades, Schlect said it’s his time to step down. He wanted to leave while the team was at its pinnacle and let someone new take the reins.
His last time coaching will be as he takes the team to the national competition in mid-May, where in the past the team has scored as high as fifth place.
“They can run with the best of them. They’re a very strong team, but the competition is the best in the country,” Schlect said, bracing for a rigorous competition.
Senior Nate Miller said his experience on the mock trial team and at Logos in general has prepared him for nationals and life after graduation. “We’ve learned to speak persuasively, pursue excellence and do our best in everything we do,” Miller said.
Logos Superintendent Larry Stephenson said the classical Christian education provided at the school shapes the students into experienced public speakers, and in some cases expert competitors, from a young age. “The common denominator in our children is we expect the kids to do well,” Stephenson said.
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