Teams from 30 high schools across Pennsylvania participated in the second annual La Salle University Blue and Gold high school mock trial competition recently.
Philadelphia’s Central High School was named champion of the tournament. Central Bucks South High School, in Warrington, Pa., won second place and Strath Haven High School, in Wallingford, Pa., took third place. More than 350 people, including students, family, and teachers, attended the all-day tournament held at the University’s campus.
The program was entirely organized by La Salle students who belong to La Salle’s Mock Trial Team.
“This event is one of only three of its kind in Pennsylvania,” said Steve Patton, a senior Political Science and Psychology dual major at La Salle, who was one of the tournament’s organizers and is president of the University’s Mock Trial Team. “Only La Salle, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pennsylvania hold high school mock trial invitational tournaments.”
“I was extremely pleased with the outcome of the tournament as were a number of judges and lawyers who participated in portions of the tournament. Everyone seems to be looking forward to doing it again next year,” said Patton.
Panels of more than 30 lawyers, judges, district attorneys — many of them La Salle graduates — and La Salle faculty evaluated the high school teams, as did Dr. Michael Dillion, J.D., professor and chair of the Political Science Department at La Salle and director of the University’s Pre-Law Program.
Numerous La Salle University students helped organized and run the tournament, including John Prendergast, T.J. McCarrick, Paul Dunne, Theresa Glinski, Brian McBeth, Erin Carroll, Tom Shattuck, Chris Hanno, Meg Cronce, Katherine McBeth, Rosemary Carberry and many others.
This year’s competition case was a civil trial with an environmental theme, and the student teams competed against each other, alternating one round as defendant and the next as a plaintiff.
Eight plaques for individual top performances for the student attorneys and student witnesses were presented, in addition to trophies to the three top teams.
“I was totally impressed by the organization, poise, forethought, and professionalism exhibited by the entire La Salle Mock Trial Association Team,” said Dillon. He noted the students oversaw planning the tournament with diverse tasks such as preparing statewide invitations, acquiring judges, preparing ballot forms, posting of signs, preparing name tags for La Salle tournament staff, running training sessions for the judges, arranging a luncheon for all the participants and their guests, and coordinating the opening and closing ceremonies for all teams and their guests.
“Our La Salle students should all be very proud of what they accomplished,” said Dillon. “They displayed the University at its best.”