For Elizabeth "Liz" Hendricks, Mock Trial has opened her eyes about the importance of pubic affairs.
Her first venture into the legal-based debate competition last week "has provoked an interest in public affairs in general" and the courts and legislatures in particular, she said in an interview this week.
A first-time competitor, her performance at a Fergus Falls meet earned a nomination as Fine Arts Student of the Week.
As one of three lawyers on the Brainerd High School team, Hendricks prepared both sides of a case involving a job discrimination complaint based on bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder.
The most important lesson from the exercise, she said, is that "it's important that students learn about what is going on in the legislatures and the courts and to stay up to date on the issues so they know what is going on."
The BHS team argued the case from the plaintiff's point of view, a woman fired from her job because of her bulimic condition, allegedly in violation of federal statutes protecting the disabled from job discrimination.
The case -- this year's national Mock Trial issue -- centers on whether eating disorders should be considered valid disabilities under the statute.
At a mock trial next week, the team will argue the defendant's side, Hendricks said. She is joined by Noelle Razidlo and Kelly Boyer as the team's lawyers, as well as several witnesses and court officials.
The team "entered their first-ever Mock Trial competition," the trial coach said in her nomination, and "with a split decision lost the case, but displayed a high level of critical analysis, personal growth and achievement."
Hendricks, a junior honor student, transferred to BHS last year from Alexandria, Va. The offspring of a military family, she has lived in several other states, as well as Japan. Her father, Doug Hendricks, is a Brainerd native who retired last year as a Marine Corps colonel, she said.
Hendricks has taken several advanced placement classes, is a member of the Student Council, has participated in the Youth in Government convention, and competes in soccer and track.
She also serves on the Community Education Advisory Council and holds a part-time job with an area retailer. For the moment, she is planning on a military career following her college years, but "I'm leaving my options open," she said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.