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GREENSBURG-SALEM HIGH SCHOOL WINS STATE MOCK TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP

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

HARRISBURG (April 2, 2005) — Greensburg-Salem High School from Greensburg, Pa., defeated Scranton Preparatory School on Saturday, April 2, to win the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Statewide Mock Trial Championship in Harrisburg. Greensburg-Salem, whose trip will be funded by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals in May in Charlotte, N.C. This is Greensburg-Salem High School’s second statewide mock trial championship title in the past five years.

“We congratulate Greensburg-Salem High School for winning this year’s statewide high school mock trial competition,” PBA Young Lawyers Division Chair James Wells, 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 270 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, April 1. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds advanced to the semifinal round held Saturday, April 2, at the Dauphin County Courthouse. Those teams included West York High School (York County), Scranton Preparatory School (Lackawanna County), Holy Ghost (Bucks County) and Greensburg-Salem High School (Westmoreland County). Greensburg-Salem beat West York in the semifinal round and went on to compete against Scranton Preparatory School for the state mock trial championship, which was held in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber. First Lady Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, presided at the championship. Greensburg-Salem played the plaintiff in the finals and Scranton Preparatory School was the defense.

This year’s case, which was used throughout the state in all mock trial competitions, centers on a fictional civil action brought by the parents of a young man who died from injuries caused by a crowd-crushing incident at a rap concert. The National High School Mock Trial Championship will use a new case focusing on NASCAR. The Greensburg-Salem mock trial team will work over the next 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:

  • Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, Villanova
  • Franklin Learning Center, Philadelphia
  • Greensburg-Salem High School, Greensburg
  • Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Bensalem
  • Montoursville Area Senior High School, Montoursville
  • Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Flourtown
  • New Brighton Area High School, New Brighton
  • Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School, Philadelphia
  • Scranton Preparatory School, Scranton
  • West York Area High School, York
  • Woodland Hills High School, Pittsburgh
  • Wyoming Seminary, Kingston

      For more information on the 2005 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships or to read this year’s case, visit the PBA Web site at www.pabar.org.