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Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School (Luzerne County) Wins PBA Statewide Mock Trial Competition

HARRISBURG (March 26, 2011) - Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School of Luzerne County today won the 28th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition.

The Wyoming Seminary Mock Trial Team is composed of Lina Bader, Leah Goldberg, Amanda Immidisetti, Dustin Magaziner, Logan May, Ellie McDougal, Renata O'Donnell and Caroline Reppert. The teacher coaches are Adam Carlisle and Justin Naylor. The attorney advisors are Frank Brier, Cathy O'Donnell and Neil O'Donnell.

Wyoming Seminary will represent Pennsylvania in the 2011 National High School Mock Trial Championship taking later this spring in Phoenix.

Wyoming Seminary played the role of defense and St. Joseph's Preparatory School (Philadelphia County) played the role of plaintiff in the final round of competition today. Judge John E. Jones III, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, served as presiding judge.

The St. Joseph's Preparatory School Mock Trial Team is composed of Dante Alessandri, P.J. Brogan, Brian Carden, Nick Centrella, Rob Denault, Kevin Dlugos, Phil Pasquarello and Dan Sulvetta. The teacher coach is Thomas Johnson. The attorney advisors are Charles Gallagher and Joseph McNelis.

"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."

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.

This year, 331 teams from 285 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 25.

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 Wyoming Seminary and St. Joseph's Preparatory School were Scranton Preparatory School (Lackawanna County) and Strath Haven High School (Delaware County).

The Scranton Preparatory School Mock Trial Team is composed of Christopher Boland, Joseph Burke, Allison Durkin, Sean Foley, Cara Mannion, Stephen Murphy, Devon Sheridan and Ailien Van Wie. The teacher coach is Mary Grace Phillips. The attorney advisors are Judge Malachy Mannion and John O'Brien. Scranton Preparatory School won the Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition last year and also in 1991.

The Strath Haven High School Mock Trial Team is composed of Alex Abramowitz, Ian Anderson, Daniel Goldfield, Nico Mesyngier, Ryder Scott, David Turpin, Jahsmine Victor and Daniel Ziring. The teacher coach is Rachel Lawrence. The attorney advisor is Michelle Stranen.

In addition to the four teams competing in today's semifinals, the eight additional teams participating in the state championships included the following: The Baldwin School (Montgomery County), Central High School (Philadelphia County), Eden Christian Academy (Allegheny County), Franklin Regional Senior High School (Westmoreland County), B. Reed Henderson High School (Chester County), Quigley Catholic High School (Beaver County), State College Area High School (Centre County) and West York Area High School (York County).

The Pennsylvania Cable Network will record the final round of the competition for airing statewide on the following dates and times: April 1 at 7 p.m., April 2 at 10 p.m. and April 3 at 3 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 Web site at www.pcntv.com.

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 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.