Grady teams victorious

The Southerner

By Max Nevins, Lili Chalfant, and Margot Mclaughlin

Mock trial sweeps state

On March 4, the Mock Trial team placed first at the Georgia High School Mock Trial State Finals Competition, Grady’s seventh win in the team’s history. Grady’s placement qualified the team to represent Georgia in the national tournament in Hartford, CT from May 10-14.

“We went to state last year and finished third,” sophomore Robert Mobley said. “In the past, Grady teams had a lot of success at the state and national level, and we wanted to bring ourselves back to that stage.”

To get to the state competition, the team placed first in the Region competition, qualifying it  for the District competition, in which it also placed first.

At state, team members also earned individual titles; sophomores Audrey Dwyer and Mobley won awards for “Outstanding Witness” and seniors Chase Kleber and Orly Mansbach won awards for “Outstanding Attorney.”

Carl Gebo, the team’s coach and a practicing lawyer, has given real-world experience to his team for over 20 years.

“Grady Mock Trial is nothing without him,” Grady Mock Trial parent Nancy Habif said. “There’s a distinct method he uses to get these students to be the best they can be. Of course, that in and of itself, sets the stage for the rest of their lives.”

This is the first time Grady Mock Trial won state in five years, making it Gebo’s seventh team to win.

“[I am most proud of] the team being honored with the Annual Professionalism Award,” Gebo said. “All of the competing teams vote on that award, which means that Grady’s opponents found the Grady Team to exemplify respect, dignity, and sportsmanship worthy of honor among their peers.”

G3 gears up for worlds

From April 6 to 8, Grady’s G3 Robotics team competed against 45 teams in Peachtree District State Championship. Although it lost in the quarterfinals, the team won the Imagery Award and advanced to the World Championships in Houston, along with other top 18 robotics teams from Georgia.

The competition, FIRST Steamwork, tests the teams’ robots in a multitude of ways. Individual teams make alliances and are asked to work alongside two other robots to move gears, shoot balls and climb a rope. Grady’s G3 Team began with a lot of unforeseen issues, such as wires getting unplugged, tubes coming loose and mistakes in robot code.

“As the competition went on, we improved a lot, and by the end of the competition, we were able to shoot accurately and did a full system check before every match to make sure nothing was messed up,” junior Hannah Prausnitz-Weinbaum, Junior Varsity team captain, said.

The team seeded lower than expected due to these complications, but are hopeful for the World Championship. They are specifically focusing on autonomous modes and tuning the shooter on the robot .The team feels it is stronger as a whole this year.

“One of our goals for G3 is to build awesome robots, so each year we strive to build highly competitive FRC Robots, and that obviously wouldn’t be possible without improving our team,” sophomore Crispin Gambill said.

In the past years, robotics has doubled in members and increased their number of mentors from two to seven.

“[The World Championship] is going to be an even higher level of competition. I feel because of our performance that we should be able to be competitive,” Coach and math teacher Andrew Nichols said. “Our goal is to make it to the elimination tournament for our district which we haven’t done .”

Jesters keep winning streak

On March 3-5, the Grady Speech and Debate team competed in the Georgia State Speech and Debate tournament at Marist School.

The team won its eighth state title despite the competition they faced from across the state. The team won the “Overall Sweepstakes” for the combined scores of speech and debate events and “Speech Sweepstakes” and earned second place in “Debate Sweepstakes.”

“The win shows the incredible amount of talent at this school,” Debate coach and English teacher Mario Herrera said. “This may be the hardest working team I’ve had the opportunity to work with.”

The team also had individual wins by seniors Gregory Federov for Congressional Debate (Senate) and Sam Lombardo for Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking. To qualify for the state competition, participants had to place from sixth to first in their event at a tournament earlier in the season, which began in September.

The team attributes their success to their coaches.

“[Herrera] worked with us every day to make sure we were prepared,” junior Liliana Chanler, who placed second in Program of Oral Interpretation, said. “There is no way we would have been as prepared as we were if it wasn’t for him pushing us to do our best.”

Although the team is proud of its victory, it still has work ahead of them. The club hopes to carry its success it into the Nationals competition at June 18-23 in Birmingham, AL.

“We’ve never been able to send such a big group to nationals, but because we did so at the national qualifiers, we are able to send 16 people in a variety of events,” senior Bailey Damiani said. “Over this past year, the team has grown closer than I’ve seen my four years on the team, and I think that is because of all the tournaments and experiences we’ve had this year.”