The PA Mock Trial Competition gives high school students across the state the ability to compete in a courtroom setting, debating information given in a fictional, but realistic, court case. This year’s case is a criminal case in which a doctor is charged with drug delivery resulting in death. Students are given the case materials and then prepare both prosecution and defense sides of the case to compete in the district tournaments and others should they advance. The Mock Trial competition allows students to gain public speaking skills and introduce them to our nation’s legal system.

Teams from the PA Leadership Charter School, University Scholars Program had a remarkable season this year. In January, they finished in fourth place in their divisions at the La Salle University Blue and Gold Invitational. Then the school’s A team finished in third place at the University of Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin Invitational. Finally, in a series of very hard fought trials against Devon Preparatory Academy and Owen J. Roberts, the B team made it’s way to first place in Chester County’s district competition. The competition is an all-volunteer effort sponsored by the PA Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division.

On Monday, March 11th the PA Leadership, University Scholars Program (USP) Mock Trial team competed in Regionals at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media, Pennsylvania. The team, comprised of 10 students, took on Merion Mercy Academy for the regional championship title. In a match full of intense objection battles and competitive arguing, the PA Leadership team won, and is heading on to the state level competition on March 29th and 30th.

At the state tournament in Harrisburg, 14 teams will compete at the Dauphin County Courthouse for the title of Pennsylvania State Champions. The winning team will then advance to the national competition held in Athens, Georgia. The PA Leadership team, coached by Ms. Kristen Waltz and captained by juniors Hannah Phillips (‘20) and Linda Manginelli (‘20) are beyond proud of the team and all that they’ve accomplished this season.

Manginelli remarked, “I am so proud of all the hard work and time each person contributed so that we could make it this far. I feel so fortunate to be part of a team where everyone puts in a ton of work but still has so much fun together.” Phillips added: “This year has been a crazy ride. I am so proud of every single one of my teammates and how hard we’ve worked together to get to this point. It’s unbelievable. Everyone on this team has so much potential and has helped bring us to where we are. I am beyond honored to compete with these people.” Cali Walsh (‘20), a witness on the team stated: “It’s my first year and I can’t believe how far we’ve come and I can’t wait to see what we continue to do.”

*Full credit goes to Hannah Phillips, USP Junior, for writing this blog post. Thank you, Hannah! *

(Photographed from left to right: Ms. Kristen Waltz, Cali Walsh, Karlee Whitpan, Emmy Stiles, Serena Matos, Linda Manginelli, Hannah Phillips, Hank Johannessen, Hayden Strong, Gus Johannessen, Robert Furlan.)