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May 12, 2008 - GWHS Mock Trial Team takes fifth place at Nationals


May 12, 2008
For immediate release
Photos available upon request

For information, call Carolyn Gravit,
(303) 824-5323 or Christine McManus
c. (303) 323-5001


GWHS Mock Trial Team takes fifth place at Nationals

First team to go to Nationals  from DPS competed against 44 teams

Wilmington, Del. and Denver — The George Washington High School mock trial team this weekend took fifth place out of 44 teams at the National High School Mock Trials Championship in Wilmington, Del. It was the first time a Denver Public Schools team ever competed at nationals.

The GWHS team went to nationals because they won the state title in March, after competing against 22 other teams from across Colorado at the 23rd Colorado Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament, held in Fort Collins at the Larimer County Court House.

“The team did really well, especially considering they were still in their IP finals last week while most of the other teams had arrived a couple days earlier for scrimmages,” said Carolyn Gravit, director of Public Legal Education for the team’s sponsor, the Colorado Bar Association. “Since this was the team’s first year at nationals, we were extremely excited that our Denver team did so well.”

The eight-student team from George Washington High School missed prom to face off on Saturday against 44 other teams from the United States, Commonwealth of the Marianna Islands, Guam and South Korea. The team has been building momentum since this year’s seniors were freshmen.

“We showed up in Delaware late Thursday night, went to dinner and then worked until 4 a.m.,” said GWHS senior Conner Phillips. “Then we waged evidentiary war for two days against students from Maine to South Korea.”

This year’s mock case was a corporate law case that involved a Fortune 500 company. Students worked as lawyers and witnesses, debating a hostile takeover of a Delaware corporation by another company. National teams were ranked by real judges for the ways they each handled the same mock court case. Judges surveyed the high school teams for their courtroom abilities and legal prowess.

At mock trial competitions, teams prepare for both sides of the case and don’t find out which side they will take until they step into the courtroom. Students perform all roles. They are judged on how well they know the case, question witnesses, advocate their side of the case, make and respond to objections, as well as how well witnesses play their roles, and dramatic speaking and persuasive argument skills.

The 25th annual championship awards were presented by the Honorable Ruth Ann Minner, Governor of the State of Delaware and the Honorable Myron T. Steele, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware. The Justices of the Delaware Supreme Court along with Mayor Baker, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, and Elizabeth McGeever, President of the Delaware State Bar Association presented additional awards.

“High school students who participate in the CBA mock trial program are given a rare opportunity to learn about the substance and the processes of the law, and to have their performances critiqued by experienced trial lawyers and judges,” said Administrative Law Judge David P. Cain. “Participants also learn important life skills such as cooperation, team work and professional courtesy.”

Former state champs Evergreen High School competed in the national championship in Dallas, Texas, May 11–14, 2007.
This year’s competition took place May 8-10 at the New Castle County Courthouse, 500 North King Street, in Wilmington. The Supreme Court of Delaware, the Delaware Law Related Education Center and the Delaware Bar Association hosted the championship this year.