Five high schools will be competing on March 7 and 8 for the opportunity to represent the Northern Marianas at the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Athens, Georgia. This year’s champion will compete with over 40 teams at nationals to be held in mid-May.
The schools—Grace Christian Academy, Marianas High School, Mount Carmel High School, Saipan International School, and Tinian High School—will face each other in four preliminary rounds, with the top two teams advancing to the championship round before a panel of five jurors.
Kagman High School, Dr. Rita H. Inos High School and Saipan Southern High School are unrepresented this year.
The case trial problem centers on a fictional child who sustained serious injuries while attending a fictional forensic science camp. A camp counselor led the minor and other students on an off-campus hike to a location the counselor had not previously visited. After becoming lost, the group spent the night on a mountain. In the middle of the night, the minor awoke in a confused state, fell down the mountain and struck his head. As a result, he sustained a spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia and a serious concussion leading to long-term impairment. A lawsuit for gross negligence ensued. The forensic camp claims that it was the minor’s own actions—hiding his Type I diabetes from staff, that caused his injuries.
“I was anxious for mock trial to begin again. After the storm, we all wanted to return to normalcy, and not only did mock trial feel normal, it felt like home,” said Shea Hartig, a Marianas High School junior who won both best prosecution attorney and best defense attorney in 2018.
Mock trial coordinator Gretchen Smith said this will be the first year the competition will be held at the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands because of the ongoing renovations of the Superior Court courtrooms in the Guma’ Hustisia.
“We thank the U.S. District Court for allowing the preliminary rounds to be held in their building,” she said. “Initially, we did not think we would have any schools interested in participating in mock trial this year. But, once we reached out to the schools, we found out that some wanted to continue with the competition.”
Last year’s champions, Mount Carmel School, competed in Reno, Nevada and won the distinguished Larry Bakko Professionalism and Civility Award.
The mock trial program, now in its 21st year, is sponsored by the Judiciary, the Public School System, the CNMI Bar Association and the Northern Marianas Judiciary Historical Society. The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation has also provided funding for the local competition.
For more information, contact Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR)