Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South
Hadley was named state champion of the Massachusetts Bar
Association's 2012 Mock Trial Program, the high school's second
championship in a row. The finals were held March 23 in the Great
Hall at Faneuil Hall in Boston.
Pioneer Valley advances to the National High School Mock Trial
Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 3-6. A portion of the
trip will be funded by a donation from the MBA's philanthropic
partner, the Massachusetts Bar Foun-dation. Pioneer Valley won the
championship last year and in 2006.
Pioneer Valley and Marshfield High School competed during a nearly
three-hour mock trial. Pioneer Valley represented the plaintiff,
who was the victim of bullying and suffered a mental breakdown.
Marshfield represented the defendant, a teacher, who was charged
with negligence for not stopping or reporting the bullying suffered
by the student.
District Court Presiding Justice Barbara Savitt Pearson presided
over the mock trial and was assisted by Superior Court Associate
Justice Janet Kenton-Walker and Superior Court Associate Justice
John T. Lu.
"You have been stars, all of you. It's remarkable to me," said
Pearson, who suggested many practicing attorneys could learn from
the articulate and composed students. "It was terrific, and you
really should be so proud of yourselves."
Pearson said Pioneer Valley was victorious in proving the teacher
was negligent. That win, however, did not mean Pioneer Valley would
automatically take the championship. The judges determined, by a
vote of two to one, that Pioneer Valley was the victor because it
received the higher score. The judges based their calculations on a
number of factors, including presentation and knowledge of both the
case and law.
The Mock Trial Program began its 27th year in January. The
competition places high school teams from 16 regions across the
state in simulated courtroom situations where they assume the roles
of lawyers, defendants and witnesses in hypothetical cases. More
than 120 teams competed in this year's competition.
MBA President-elect Robert L. Holloway Jr. welcomed the students
to the historic venue and thanked the families and coaches of both
teams for their support.
The Mock Trial Program is administered by the MBA, and made
possible by the international law firm of Brown Rudnick through its
Center for the Public Interest in Boston, which has contributed
$25,000 each year to the program since 1998.
For more information on the MBA Mock Trial Program, visit http://mocktrial.massbar.org.