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BLHS Students Travel to San Francisco for 2017 Empire Mock Trial Competition

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Who doesn’t love a good courtroom drama: the judge, the plaintiff, the defense and prosecution, victims, witnesses, and on either side a dynamic attorney deftly articulating his case. Professional lawyers often conduct “mock trials” to test out their theories and polish their approach, before a big case. And some of those same attorneys volunteer their off time to help conduct mock trials during which high school students can test their aptitude within the legal system.

For the past ten years, BL students have participated in the one such tournament, the Empire Mock Trial competition, first in New York City, more recently in Atlanta and now, this year, in San Francisco. The goal of the program (as described on the Empire website) is to “mold young people into confident, respectful, culturally-aware citizens” through an event where students can “learn the rule of law and meet fellow young people from diverse backgrounds” requiring students to “think critically, communicate clearly, and collaborate effectively through interacting with their peers and gaining perspective on global issues in an atmosphere that’s conducive to both friend making and network building.”

As in past years, the BL team made us proud last year in Atlanta. Competing with hundreds of other high school students from 26 U.S. schools, as well as a team from China, the BL team finished third overall, their best finish in the 10 years they’ve participated. In addition to the team award, Chris Dunn (Class of 2018) took home 5th best witness in a field of over 200 witnesses, and Alison Clay (Class of 2017) won 1st place attorney in a field of over 200.

Beth Storm, who for the past 11 years has taught debate, US history and geography at BL also teaches the Mock Trial course as well as coaching the 16-member Mock Trial team after school. “Mock Trial helps students who are interested in law school become comfortable speaking in front of people and thinking on their feet,” she said. “It helps build confidence, reasoning and problem solving, and also teaches them how to better communicate their thoughts. This is a very dedicated team. The time they put in is phenomenal.”

Over their years competing at the Empire Mock Trial, BL teams have garnered other awards, averaging one top prize per year, and have even taken home accolades in the state Mock Trial competition. “Any time students are encouraged to take information, synthesize it, then present it to a crowd, it helps them become more confident speaking in public, presenting their ideas and respectfully considering the ideas of others,” Ms. Storm said.

“The Mock Trial program is one great example of the diversity of opportunities our BL students enjoy,” said school president Chris Rebuck. “It teaches them to work together collaboratively to decide which team members should be showcased. These students learn to make choices for the greater good of the team, not merely themselves. Our hope is that they take this experience into college and eventually into the workplace, putting them in a position for further opportunity and success.”

As always, the team will take advantage of other educational opportunities while they are in San Francisco, including visiting Alcatraz, Pier 39, Ghirardelli and other key historic sites.

We wish our Mock Trial team the best of luck this weekend … we’ll be watching for more impressive showings from this outstanding group of students!

The 2017 Bishop Lynch Mock Trial team includes:

  • Ellen Daly
  • Chris Dunn
  • Ryan Gerron
  • Gabby Gonzales
  • Leah Hawthorne
  • Kate Hickerson
  • Zach Hogue
  • Julianne Martin
  • Meredith Martin
  • Faith Njenga
  • Jane Onuoha
  • Jason Peraza
  • Caroline Grace Rochester
  • Katie Shore
  • Charlie Stock
  • Grace Turner


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1 Comment

One Response to “BLHS Students Travel to San Francisco for 2017 Empire Mock Trial Competition”

  1. Elizabeth Rochester on October 6th, 2017 9:16 am

    So proud of these young people.Way to represent Bishop Lynch !


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BLHS Students Travel to San Francisco for 2017 Empire Mock Trial Competition