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HARRISBURG (March 23, 2002) - Quigley Catholic High School, Beaver County, today defeated Gateway High School, Allegheny County, to win the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Statewide Mock Trial Championship in Harrisburg. Quigley Catholic will go on to represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals May 9-12, 2002, in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Mn. This is Quigley Catholic’s sixth statewide mock trial championship title.

“We would like to congratulate Quigley Catholic High School for winning this year’s competition,” Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Chair Seth A. Mendelsohn said. “Now in its 18th year, mock trial gives Pennsylvania high school students first-hand experience with the legal system. All of the teams that competed in the state championships are to be commended for their outstanding work.”

Following district and regional competitions, 12 high school teams advanced to the state mock trial championships. All 12 teams competed in two quarterfinal rounds on Friday, March 22. The four winning teams of the quarterfinal rounds advanced to the semifinal round held this morning at the Dauphin County Courthouse. Those teams included Abington Heights (Lackawanna County), Devon Preparatory (Chester County), Gateway High School (Allegheny County) and Quigley Catholic High School (Beaver County). Gateway High School and Quigley Catholic High School were the winners of the semifinal round and went on to compete in the state mock trial championship, which was held in the Pennsylvania Senate Chamber. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Eakin presided at the championship.

This year, over 250 high schools competed in the district and regional levels of Pennsylvania’s mock trial competition - one of the largest in the nation. The same case, which was used throughout the state in all mock trial competitions, centered around a fire that destroyed a science building on a college campus and the student who was charged with arson. The case was created by a third-year law student at the Temple University Beasley School of Law.

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 in the teams’ abilities to prepare their cases, present arguments and follow court rules.

The 12 teams that made it to the state championships include:

  • Abington Heights, Lackawanna County
  • Cumberland Valley High School, Cumberland County
  • Devon Preparatory, Chester County
  • Gateway High School, Allegheny County
  • Greensburg Salem High School, Westmoreland County
  • Holy Ghost Preparatory, Bucks County
  • Overbrook High School, Philadelphia
  • Quigley Catholic High School, Beaver County
  • St. Joseph Preparatory, Philadelphia
  • West York Area High School, York County
  • Williamsport Area High School, Lycoming County
  • Wyoming Seminary, Luzerne County

For more information on the 2002 Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships or to read this year’s case, visit the PBA Web site at www.pabar.org.