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Mock Trial Team Argues its Way to the Top

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Massapequa High School’s mock trial team continues to impress at local and regional competitions, including a victory at the Long Island Mentor Moot Court Competition in November. 

After winning preliminary rounds on Nov. 13, Massapequa advanced to the semifinals at the Long Island Federal Courthouse in Central Islip six days later and won the Nassau County championship. The team then defeated William Floyd High School in the finals to capture the Long Island title. 

Seniors Rachelle C., Amanda D., Jessica R. and Patricia T. argued in front of a panel of four federal judges. This year’s competition was a fictitious students’ rights case, and the team researched actual cases in advance to prepare their arguments. Patricia won the Best Orator award. She and Rachelle now advance to the next round at the Second Court of Appeals on Dec. 17 against students from New York City. 

In the three years of the Moot Court competition, Massapequa, under the direction of co-adviser Daniel Bachman, has been the Nassau County champion, a semifinalist and Long Island champions. 

The team also participated in Harvard Mock Trial High School Seminar Program. Students attended workshops in which they received advice from member of the Harvard mock trial team. 

“Learning from them is probably the best training you can get,” senior Alyssa P. said. 

The mock trial team competed against high schools from Florida and Virginia Beach, which gave insight into the differences in legal systems among the states. Patricia and Rachelle received Outstanding Attorney awards. 

In mid-November, co-adviser John Pardue led mock trial members in the five-day Empire Mock Trial competition in New York City. For the first time, Massapequa cracked the Top 10, placing 17 spots better than the year before. They competed against 44 teams from all over the country and the world, including China, England and Ireland. Students created international friendships and members of the Ireland team subsequently visited Massapequa High School. 

Massapequa’s team consisted of 20 students, including 14 who competed. Upon receiving the case in July, they had to review a 220-page fact pattern and 25 exhibits. 

Members of the mock trial team are supported by alumni who are now practicing attorneys, as well as Hofstra University law students. The team also visited Touro Law Center on Nov. 30 for the Icons of Freedom lecture series, which included presentations by Mary Beth Tinker and Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey, two notable plaintiffs in students’ rights cases.