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Greensburg-Salem High School Wins State Mock Trial Championship

— Second consecutive year for team to represent Pennsylvania at the national mock trial championship—

HARRISBURG (April 3, 2006) — Defending state champion Greensburg-Salem High School from Greensburg, Pa., defeated Julia R. Masterman High School, Philadelphia, on Saturday, April 1, to win the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Statewide Mock Trial Championship in Harrisburg. Greensburg-Salem will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals in May in Oklahoma City. This is Greensburg-Salem High School’s third statewide mock trial championship title in the past six years — winning the last two consecutive years.

“We congratulate Greensburg-Salem High School for winning this year’s statewide high school mock trial competition,” PBA Young Lawyers Division Chair Jennifer J. Clark, Esq. said. “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. I would also like to thank the hundreds of lawyers who volunteer each year to make this a success, once again showing lawyers’ commitment to volunteer work.”

This year, more than 290 high school teams 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 31. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds advanced to the semifinal round held Saturday, April 1, at the Dauphin County Courthouse. Those teams included West York High School (York County), Julia R. Masterman High School (Philadelphia), Bensalem Township High School (Bucks County) and Greensburg-Salem High School (Westmoreland County). Greensburg-Salem beat Bensalem in the semifinal round and went on to compete against Julia R. Masterman for the state mock trial championship, which was held in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber. Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Mary Jane Bowes presided at the championship. Greensburg-Salem played the defense in the finals and Masterman was the prosecution.

This year’s case, which is used throughout the state in all district and state finals mock trial competitions, centered on a fictional criminal case involving the murder of a homeless woman. The National High School Mock Trial Championship will use a fictional murder case. The Greensburg-Salem mock trial team will work over the next few weeks to prepare for the case.

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 competed in the state championships included:

  • Abington Heights High School, Lackawanna County
  • Bellefonte Area High School, Centre County
  • Bensalem Township High School, Bucks County
  • Freeport Area High School, Butler County
  • Greensburg-Salem High School, Westmoreland County
  • B. Reed Henderson High School, Montgomery County
  • MMI Preparatory School, Luzerne County
  • Julia R. Masterman High School, Philadelphia
  • Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Montgomery County
  • Overbrook High School, Philadelphia
  • Seton-LaSalle High School, Allegheny County
  • West York Area High School, York

For more information on the 2006 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships or to read this year’s case, visit the PBA Web site at www.pabar.org.

Contact: Marcy Mallory & Jennifer Branstetter
PBA Communications Department
communications@pabar.org 1-800-932-0311