Mt. Carmel tops HS mock trial

The Mount Carmel School team rejoices after being announced the 2018 High School Mock Trial champions last Friday and will represent the CNMI in the HS Mock Trial national championship in Reno, Nevada in May 2018. (Bea Cabrera)

Mount Carmel School successfully defended its title after winning the 20th Annual High School Mock Trial last Friday at the CNMI Supreme Court, making the team the CNMI’s representative at the national championship in Reno, Nevada in May.

Tinian High School placed second, while Marianas High School placed third.

The competition was presided by Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the U.S. District Court for the NMI.

MCS president Galvin Guerrero couldn’t be prouder of the MCS team. “Half of the team that competed this year was their first time, the students who played attorneys this year were their first time. The winning team last year were mostly seniors and they all left, so this year was a tremendous challenge but this was [made] possible by the support of the parents, the entire school family, and our attorney coach Garth Backe and…all the students who worked really hard,” he said.

He credited their winning performance to teamwork.

“We had a bench team, we had a junior high team and it was a very big team and they all helped out each other… We will take a week or two off and then we will get back to get ready for the national[s],” he added.

Justin Ocampo, an MCS junior high student, said the team “worked very hard to get here and I commend the high school students but also the teachers and lawyers that worked so hard, preparing us for this competition,” he said. “I feel very happy and proud for this opportunity to represent the CNMI.”

Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa K. Kim-Tenorio congratulated all the participants.

“All the students come in as winners and I really feel it’s tough for the jurors—the lawyers who score them because you are judging a bunch of kids who are already excellent. …The competition…gives the students some type of exposure so they are not just coming in as fresh competitors,” she said.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see this in different aspects as I was once a coach, state coordinator, and now I judge the competitions. It was…great to see the dedication of the students,” she added.

Kim-Tenorio said the CNMI Judiciary will be involved in helping prepare the MCS team for the nationals. She will sit in to give the students tips to hone their skills.

The jurors in the final round of the high school mock trial competitions were Jim Sirok, Nicole Ripple, Gil Birnbrich, Janet King, and Ben Hale.

This was not Sirok’s first time to judge the final round and has been involved in moot court judging for four to five years already. “I see the improvement every year and I think more participants are involved than when we started out years ago,” Sirok said.

“Coaching is one of the factors why this competition is improving every time. I didn’t know how many attorneys were involved, if at all, in the early years but now you have attorneys involved as well as just teachers. You also have students that are committed that are just like a sports team,” he added.

The schools that participated was composed of public and private schools on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

Acting Education Commissioner Glen Muña praised the students’ performance and commended the schools and students that got individual awards.

The Best Prosecution Witness award went to Kevin Wolf of Marianas High School; Best Defense Witness went to Theresa Zheng of Mount Carmel School, Anna Nunez of Grace Christian Academy, and Jonan Pohl of Marianas High School; Best Prosecution/Defense Attorney went to Shea Hartig of Saipan International School; and the Supreme Court Professionalism Award went to Grace Christian Academy.

MD: Mount Carmel School successfully defended its championshop after winning the 20th Annual High School Mock Trial held last Friday at the Supreme Court.

KW: High School Mock Trial, CNMI Judiciary, PSS, Mount Carmel School, Marianas High School.

Bea Cabrera Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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