Quigley Catholic High School (Beaver County) Wins Statewide Mock Trial Competition

HARRISBURG (March 23, 2013) - Quigley Catholic High School today won the 30th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition, which took place at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg.

The Quigley Catholic High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Thomas Belsterling, George Burnet, Kaye Burnet, Nicholas Core, John Hrechun, Jarek Ingros, Anthony Kuntz and Shelby Wasil. The teacher coach is Timothy Waxenfelter. The attorney advisor is Ahmed Aziz.

Quigley Catholic High School also claimed the competition's state title in 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2002.

The Quigley Catholic High School Mock Trial Team will represent Pennsylvania in the National High School Mock Trial Championship, May 9 - 11, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Quigley Catholic High School Mock Trial Team played the role of the defense and Greensburg-Salem High School (Westmoreland County) played the role of the prosecution in the final round of competition today. Judge Dudley N. Anderson, Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas, served as the presiding judge.

The Greensburg-Salem High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Kenneth Clark, Anna George, Caitlin Hensel, Paige Kemsey, Garrett King, Lauren Nicassio, Theodore Russell and Courtney Wright. The teacher coaches are Elizabeth Butler Simone and Judith Washburn. The attorney advisors are the Honorable Richard E. McCormick Jr. and Eric H. Dee.

Greensburg-Salem High School claimed the competition's state title in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

"To achieve this level of success in the competition, students must have invested many hours in trial preparation and then have demonstrated outstanding presentation and critical-thinking skills in front of real-life judges, lawyers and business professionals," said Jacob A. Gurwitz of Reading, chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. "Congratulations to these bright and hard-working students, and a big thank-you to their teacher coaches and attorney advisors who prepared them for this academic challenge."

In this year's hypothetical case, a jury must determine if the developer of an urban renewal project is responsible for a crane collapse that killed two people. 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 in collaboration with Grode and Kaufman.

The chair of the Mock Trial Executive Committee is Traci L. Naugle of Altoona.

This year, 311 teams from 257 high schools competed in the district and regional levels of Pennsylvania's mock trial competition - one of the largest in the nation. Following the local competitions, 12 high school teams advanced to the state mock trial championships. All 12 teams competed in two quarterfinal rounds on Friday, March 22.

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 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.

Earlier today, competing in the semi-final round of competition with Quigley Catholic High School and Greensburg-Salem High School were Central High School (Blair County) and Plumstead Christian School (Bucks County).

The Central High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Adam Dixon, Conner Johnson, Aaron Kreider, Lindsey McCreary, Derek Nicewonger, Erin Ruggles and Eric Trexler. The teacher coach is Brad A. Heuston. The attorney advisor is Julie Mills.

The Plumstead Christian School Mock Trial Team is composed of Tyler Amann, Natalie Assaad, Steven Assaad, Isobel Harvey, Lauren Hawthorne, Matt Johnson and Kylie Kantner. The teacher coach is Susan Hawthorne. The attorney advisor is Greg Czura.

In addition to the four teams competing in today's semifinals, the eight additional teams participating in the state championships included the following:

Abington Heights High School (Lackawanna County), The Episcopal Academy (Delaware County), Central High School (Philadelphia), Cumberland Valley High School (Cumberland County), Gateway High School (Allegheny County), Mount Saint Joseph Academy (Montgomery County), State College Area High School (Centre County), Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School (Luzerne County).

The Pennsylvania Cable Network will record the final round of the competition for airing statewide on Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 30 at 9:30 p.m., and Monday, April 1 at 3:30 p.m. The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, is providing funding support for the broadcast. Also, DVDs of the final round will be available for purchase from the network's website.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, visit the PBA Web site at http://www.pabar.org.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 28,000 lawyers who are members of the association.