Mount Carmel School proved unbeatable once more after successfully defending its championship in the prestigious CNMI High School Mock Trial competition that ended Friday.
Aside from winning back-to-back, it was also the Knights' fifth overall title in the 15-year competition.
Mount Carmel was the competition's first champion in 1999 and it bagged the same honors in 2008, 2010, and 2012.
This latest win means the group will once again represent the Commonwealth at the nationals in Indianapolis in May this year.
The team's teacher-coach, MCS president Galvin Deleon Guerrero, said that what's more rewarding is to see the members performing their best after almost a full year of practice and preparation. The school entered two teams this year.
“They are focused and disciplined,” Deleon Guerrero said. “[That's why] in this court, Knights rule!”
Attorney-coach Joseph Leon Guerrero helped mentor both MCS teams.
The members of the champion team include Victor Cabrera, Victoria Camacho, Lance Deleon Guerrero, Amalina Evangelista, Maria Fe Lazaro, Andrea Manese, Jimin Ryu, and Anastasia Schweiger.
This year marks Cabrera's second time in the national mock trial after participating last year. He shared with Saipan Tribune that in all the years he has been part of the MCS mock trial team, there's always one thing they've kept in mind: “Win or lose.it's all worth it! Just do your best!”
Camacho, for her part, said that being a member of the mock trial team takes commitment. “It feels amazing because this is one of the hardest things I ever worked on. It takes so much commitment and the fact that we won against all these talented teams.it's astounding!” she told Saipan Tribune.
This year marked Camacho's first time in the high school mock trial team and the first time to travel to the national event. “I've seen the competitions (in videos) and it looks so intimidating.but I know I have a great team, we just need to work hard because our goal is to be the best in the national!”
Hailed second best team is Marianas Baptist Academy, which also bagged this year's Supreme Court Professionalism Award. One of its members, Alina Ishikawas, was also hailed the competition's best prosecution witness.
Dr. Rita Hocog Inos High School was named the second runner-up team.
First-timers bag individual awards
MCS' newest member, 14-year-old Cathryn Javier, won the best prosecuting attorney award. Javier is a member of the other MCS team.
“This is really a great surprise and I didn't expect it because I just joined our school's mock trial team a month ago! It's a great feeling!” shared Javier after the awarding rites at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan Friday night.
Hailed best defense witness is Kadi Camacho, a freshman from Marianas High School. He vowed to participate again in the mock trial competition next year.
Another student from MHS, Aurora David, was hailed the competition's best defense attorney.
MHS entered two teams in the contest this year.
Mock trial is a scholastic competition between both public and private schools throughout the CNMI. It was started in 1999 by the CNMI Bar Association and former justice Ramon Villagomez as a way to introduce high school students to the justice system. This year, six schools joined the competition.