Principia students put mediation skills to the test in virtual tournament

Principia students put mediation skills to the test in virtual tournament

Principia School hosted its third annual National High School Mediation Tournament on Nov. 18 with 12 high school teams from eight schools across the U.S. participating in addition to one middle school team from the STEAM Academy in Ferguson.

Principia juniors Quinna McCarty and Wylie Winters received top honors in the advocate/client pairs category. The teams of junior Aria Jones and senior Vikram Ganesh, McCarty and junior Rhiannon Lewis, and senior Jesse Gathungu and Nina Okike all took honorable mentions in the same category. McCarty also received an honorable mention as a mediator.

The first tournament was conceived by Principia in 2020 and held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Allex Jesper, Principia’s social media specialist, it was the first high school mediation tournament in the nation.

Two years later, the virtual format via Zoom has continued, allowing Principia to extend an invitation to participate to schools across the country.

The tournament is conducted with the support of the International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR), an organization that runs tournaments like this at the college and law school levels. Principia and INADR have received national attention because of the relevance of mediation today and the important life skills that can be learned.

This year the tournament was renamed the National High School Mediation Tournament to acknowledge its expanded reach, as schools from Arizona, Iowa, Missouri and North Carolina came together to compete.

“It works pretty well, but it would be great to do it in person,” said McCarty, who hopes to see the tournament grow.

Gathungu shared McCarty’s sentiment and addedd, “I would love to see this become something in every state, to teach other students what it has taught me.”

The tournament was the culmination of months of preparation for Mediation Cub students, who typically meet once a week during lunch and often on weekends during the school year. Club meetings usually consist of discussing caucuses, types of questions, pretend cases and mediation tactics. Students practice acting as advocate, client and mediator in the hopes of effectively arguing their case and resolving conflict in their favor, all while acting as peacemakers.

Read the complete article here.

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