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El Centro School District Dominates the Imperial County Mock Trial Competition


A celebration for very talented students who participated in the recent mock trial competition received their awards in a ceremony held outside the United States Federal Court in El Centro. 

The participants were joined by their proud parents who honked proudly from their cars as they got their awards. 

Central Union High was the champion this year but also Southwest High School and Phoenix Rising School were winners too. 

For Central High School student Kimberly Aguirre, the experience of participating in this mock trial was challenging due to COVID but said the preparation was good and it helps students prepare if they plan to study criminal law. Thanks to her participation with this club, she wants to be a criminal prosecutor. 

“I think mock trial gives you a lot of verbal skills, communication skills, how to present yourself in front of others and I also help you language-wise and how to enunciate,” Aguirre said. 

Central Coach/Teacher Anna Vizcaino said that preparation was the key to success since the students prepared for the summer by going to a camp and getting ready for the competition.

“Once the students learned about the seriousness of the club and made a commitment to prepare themselves, it made all the difference since they are the driving force,” Vizcaino said. 

Imperial County Superior Court Judge Monica Lepe-Negrete has been a great supporter of this program and the court’s involvement.

“I think it’s very important to have this program to help their self-esteem and in light of COVID to get out of their shell with social interaction and propel our students forward,” Lepe-Negrete said. 

“I congratulate the students for their endeavors to pursue greater education and also to go forward notwithstanding the mock trial virtually, that takes a lot of resilience,” Attorney Jason Amavisca said. 

“These academic events are very important for our students and our education system since they are a showcase for students to express their talents, interests, and passion,” County Superintendent Todd Finnell said “In the case of Mock Trial, I’m impressed how students perform and digest complex information and articulate that into an argument is just amazing.”

The Mock Trial Program is sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF). Each year CRF creates a mock trial that addresses serious matters facing young people today. Each team works with teacher and attorney coaches to prepare their version of the criminal case, both from the prosecution and defense perspectives. Students assume the roles of trial attorneys, pretrial motion attorneys, witnesses, clerks, and bailiffs.

Through these role-playing techniques, students learn about the content and processes of law excitingly and vibrantly. Also, by studying the case and preparing strategies and arguments for trial, students increase their public speaking skills, analytical ability, and team cooperation. Some high schools offer the Mock Trial Program as a class rather than an extra-curricular activity.

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