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GATEWAY HIGH SCHOOL WINS STATE MOCK TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP

— Gateway will represent Pennsylvania at the national mock trial championship —

HARRISBURG (March 31, 2003) — Gateway High School, Monroeville, defeated Quigley Catholic High School, Beaver County, on Saturday, March 29, to win the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Statewide Mock Trial Championship in Harrisburg. Gateway will go on to represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals May 8-11 in New Orleans, La. This is Gateway High School’s first statewide mock trial championship title.

“We would like to congratulate Gateway High School for winning this year’s state-wide high school mock trial competition,” PBA Young Lawyers Division Chair Charles Eppolito III said. “Now in its 19th year, mock trial gives Pennsylvania high school students first-hand experience with the legal system, while allowing them to develop and enhance communication and analytical skills and teamwork. All of the teams that competed across the commonwealth and in the state championships are to be commended for their outstanding work. We are heartened by the quality young men and women who participated in this year's competition.”

Following district and regional competitions, 12 high school teams advanced to the state mock trial championships. All 12 teams competed in two quarterfinal rounds on Friday, March 28. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds advanced to the semifinal round held Saturday, March 29, at the Dauphin County Courthouse. Those teams included Abington Heights (Lackawanna County), Devon Preparatory (Chester County), Gateway High School (Allegheny County) and Quigley Catholic High School (Beaver County). Gateway High School and Quigley Catholic High School were the winners of the semifinal round and went on to compete the state mock trial championship, which was held in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber. Chief Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania presided at the championship.

This year, over 260 high schools/teams competed in the district and regional levels of Pennsylvania’s mock trial competition — one of the largest in the nation. The same case, which is used throughout the state in all mock trial competitions, centers around the dangers of underage drinking. The case was created by a 2002 graduate of the Temple University Beasley School of Law with assistance from the PBA Mock Trial Executive Committee.

Through 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 coaches and attorney advisors in preparing for competition. Volunteer attorneys 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.

The 12 teams that made it to the state championships include:

  • Abington Heights, Lackawanna County
  • Cumberland Valley High School, Cumberland County
  • Devon Preparatory, Chester County
  • Gateway High School, Allegheny County
  • Greensburg Salem High School, Westmoreland County
  • Julia R. Masterman High School, Philadelphia
  • Montoursville High School, Lycoming County
  • Mt. St. Joseph Academy, Montgomery County
  • Quigley Catholic High School, Beaver County
  • St. Hubert’s Catholic High School, Philadelphia
  • Trinity High School, Cumberland County
  • Wyoming Seminary, Luzerne County

    For more information on the 2003 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships or to read this year’s case, visit the PBA Web site at www.pabar.org.