About PBA         Casemaker         Pennsylvania Bar Institute         Pennsylvania Bar Foundation         Calendar Calendar                
For Lawyers                          For the Public                          Events & Education                          News & Publications                          Get Involved
Greensburg-Salem High School Wins State Mock Trial Championship for Third Consecutive Year

HARRISBURG (March 31, 2007) - Greensburg-Salem High School of Westmoreland County topped Scranton Preparatory School of Lackawanna County today to win the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Statewide Mock Trial Championship for the third consecutive year. Greensburg-Salem High School also claimed the state title in 2001.

Greensburg-Salem will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals, May 10-13, in Dallas, Texas.

The Greensburg-Salem High School Mock Trial Team is composed of students Lauren Basl, Christen Casale, John Dumnich, Ryan Retone, Andrew Rice, Catherine Roseski, Claire Stewart and Danielle Waugh. The teacher coach is Judith Washburn. The lawyer advisor is Westmoreland County Judge Richard McCormick Jr.

"Congratulations to all the participating students from Greensburg-Salem High School for their excellent teamwork and for demonstrating the strong communication and analytical skills needed to win this year's statewide mock trial competition," said Justin B. Goldstein, chair, Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, which sponsors the competition. "We commend all the teams for their hard work. We also are grateful to the hundreds of teacher coaches and lawyers advisors who generously donated their time and shared their knowledge with students."

This year, 286 teams from 251 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 30.

In addition to Greensburg-Salem and Scranton Preparatory, the winning teams of the quarterfinals included State College Area High School (Centre County) and Woodland Hills High School (Allegheny County).

The winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds advanced to the semifinal round held Saturday, March 31, at the Dauphin County Courthouse. Greensburg-Salem beat State College Area High School in the semifinal round.

In the final competition, Greensburg-Salem played the defense and Scranton Preparatory played the plaintiff. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge J. Michael Eakin presided.

This year's case, which is used throughout the state in all district and state finals mock trial competitions, centered on a fictional case about threatening remarks that appeared on a high school-run Internet chat room, which a student claims caused severe emotional distress resulting in lower grades and loss of a valedictorian scholarship.

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.

In addition to the four teams competing in the semifinals, teams competing at the state championships included:

  • Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, Delaware County
  • Bensalem High School, Bucks County
  • Bishop O'Reilly High School, Luzerne County
  • Cumberland Valley High School, Cumberland County
  • Franklin Learning Center, Philadelphia County
  • Overbrook High School, Philadelphia County
  • New Brighton High School, Beaver County
  • North Penn High School, Montgomery County

For more information on the 2007 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, visit the PBA Web site at http://www.pabar.org/public/yld.