Articles & News 2012

State College Area High School Team Wins Local Mock Trial Tournament

Advances to State Mock Trial Championship

State College Area High School is one of the 12 Pennsylvania high schools advancing to the 28th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition, Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26, at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg. The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Phoenix. The State College Area High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Chloe DeOnna, Jeffrey Duclos, Shannon Lachman, Alicia Lai, Nicholas Lyon, Emily Mato, Graham Moyer and Kelley Sherlock. The teacher coach and attorney advisory is Steven Lachman.

State College Area High School is moving on to state level as winners of the Region 4 area of competition that includes schools in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Elk, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga and Union counties.

This year, 331 teams from 285 high schools competed in district and regional levels of Pennsylvania's mock trial competition in hopes of gaining one of the 12 spots at the statewide competition. Pennsylvania's competition is one of the largest in the nation.

"It takes teamwork and strong communication and analytical skills to be among the top 12 teams of this statewide competition," said Lisa M.B. Woodburn, chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, which organizes and oversees the event. "We congratulate the students for being among the 'best of the best' in this year's competition. We also thank their teachers and lawyer coaches who voluntarily step forward to prepare the students for competition. This event would not be possible without their support."

All 12 teams will compete in two quarterfinal rounds from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 25. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds will advance to the semifinal round at 8:30 a.m. on March 26. The state championship round will take place at 11 a.m. on March 26 with Judge John E. Jones III, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, serving as presiding judge.

Co-chairs of the state Mock Trial Executive Committee are Ryan Blazure of Wilkes-Barre and Jennifer J. Walsh of Scranton.

This year's hypothetical trial case is a civil action involving a pathologist who enters into a contract with a dying and impoverished elderly woman to obtain mutated cancer cells. The case was written by Jonathan A. Grode of Philadelphia and Paul W. Kaufman of Philadelphia. Jane E. Meyer of Harrisburg edited the final version of the case.

During the competition, eight-member student teams are given the opportunity to argue both sides of the case in an actual courtroom before a judge. The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher and lawyer coaches in preparing for competition. Volunteer lawyers and community leaders serve as jurors in the trials. The juries determine the winners in each trial based on the teams' abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.