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Fine Arts Student of the Week: Senior plays 2 witnesses, earning awards for his performances

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Brainerd High School senior Ethan Raskin takes a moment to smile at the camera while he holds an exhibit which is part of the case where he plays a witness in mock trial. Raskin was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch 2 / 2

Adviser nomination: "This is Ethan's second year on the mock trial team. He portrays two key witnesses on this year's team. We have competed twice so far, once presenting the plaintiff side and once presenting the defense side. In each trial, the opposing team selects who was the best attorney and best witness on the other team. Ethan won the honor in both of our trials, and has won for both of the parts he plays. Ethan knows his parts thoroughly and he takes the next step of putting emotion into his performance. It is fun to watch him perform. He is invaluable to the team."

Memorable fine arts achievement: "Winning two best witness awards in mock trial this year."

Artist most admired: "Milt Raskin, my great-grandfather. He was a jazz artist. He has some work online."

Other fine arts activities: Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble I.

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Ethan Raskin

  • Grade: Senior
  • Age: 18.
  • Art focus: Brainerd High School mock trial.

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Why you joined mock trial: "I joined last year when my friend Emma McConville introduced me to it. She gave me the case stuff last year. I was interested in how the court system works and this was a fun way to experience it. I also like movies and like to watch people act and this uses both your brain and you get to act.

"You learn about the court system and every trial is different as there are different attorneys as the judges."

What you like about playing a witness: "Last year when Emma talked me into joining she was a lawyer and she wanted me to play her witness, so it was a nice starting out role. "I like that you have to think quick on the spot because we get our witness statements, which we have to memorize. The statements can be upwards to four to five pages of facts and information. I just like that feeling that you have to think quick on your feet."

Your strongest skill in mock trial: "My memorization skills. I'm pretty good at memorizing the witness statements that are given."

What side you like to play: "I like to play defense more. I like the fact of defending myself more than attacking someone as I would on the plaintiff side. As a plaintiff you have to be a little more mean and I don't like that."

Tell me about the 2019 case: "It is a defamation case, where a county commissioner got a news article posted about him supposedly accepting a bride and it was published. He is suing the newspaper for defamation. It's very different compared to last year's because it was criminal case.

Surprises about the court system/mock trial: "How strict it is. For instance, our direct questions have to be set up a certain way, our cross questions have to be set up a certain way. You have to say certain things in an opening and closing statement. It's very strict.

Mock trial is set up very strategically and that surprised me a lot."

What made you stand out as a witness: "Knowing your facts and witness statement and having it completely memorized. It's also about how you portray the characters. You can't stutter a lot when you are on the stand. You want to make sure you are looking at the judge and looking at the lawyer when they are asking you questions. It's really about portraying your character.

"In this case I am portraying two witnesses—Hayden Brooks (the commissioner) and Ellis Strobel (the journalist)."

Dream Job: "Is to be a Walt Disney imagineer, which is an engineer who helps set up the park and dream up the park. They also have a Disney College Program where I would work at Disney and live there for a semester of college and get Disney connections. I believe I would need an engineering degree, but when I go down there I can see what jobs are there and what I would be interested in.

"Disney World has had some influence on me when I went there awhile back. I've wanted to go back there ever since."

Favorite subject: Mathematics.

Favorite movie: Harry Potter series.

Favorite TV show: "How I Met Your Mother."

Favorite book: "Red Rising."

Favorite song: "Brooklyn" by Youngblood Brass Band.

Favorite band: Old Dominion.

Favorite restaurant: "Perkins, as my friends and I hang out there after pep fest for band."

Perfect meal: "Mashed potatoes and gravy, and a Juicy Lucy."

Biggest pet peeve: "People chewing with their mouth open."

Parents: Chuck Raskin of Brainerd and Janelle Raskin of Baxter.