Finally the Finals for Mock Trial


Screen Grab Courtesy of Mr. Shawn Near

TJ Jose, junior, argues before the judge at Ventura County’s Mock Trial Competition Tuesday evening.

The last time Cam High’s Mock Trial team made it to finals was in 2008. “We’re excited to be back [in the finals],” said Mr. Shawn Near, faculty adviser and coach for the mock trial team. After achieving winning titles in 2001 through 2008, the mock trial team hit a rut and has not won a title since.

In order to make it to the championship rounds, the team had to win both rounds at their competition on Feb. 26 at the Ventura County Courthouse. They placed fifth out of the eight teams that made it to the finals and also placed fifth out of the overall 30. To prepare for their competition, members of the team have scrimmages with other schools as well as regular practices on Mondays and Wednesdays. They even add extra practices as the competition date approaches to thoroughly prepare.

Mock Trial is an academic competition sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, which provides a fictional criminal case for students to build a trial around. The students on the team are divided into the prosecution and defense with rolls that include attorneys, witnesses, and bailiffs, among other positions.

“I’m really interested in public speaking and acting […] and I thought mock trial would be a good way to go,” said Pauline Moraveck, junior. “I’ve learned so much and it’s boosted my confidence because it forces you to put yourself out there.” Moraveck joined mock trial hoping to gain practice with public speaking. Her decision to join has left her with better insight into the law and improved her critical thinking skills.

With the help of three attorney coaches and two witness coaches, the students are gaining a better understanding of the United States judicial system. “It gives [students] confidence in the area of public speaking,” said Near. “On an academic level these kids really learn a lot about the law and how the justice system works.”

“Its a great experience to expand ones perspective and it definitely has,” said Alan Cha, senior and witness on the mock trial team. Its Cha’s first year on mock trial, after deciding to try out at the suggestion of friend and fellow mock trial member, Sheyda Mesgarzadeh, senior.

Mesgarzadeh, defense attorney for the mock trial team, participated for her third time this year. “I’ve become a better speaker,” said Mesgarzadeh, “Even if you don’t plan on going into law, mock trial teaches you to think on your feet and stand up for what you believe in.”



Out of the 30 teams that competed in the finals for mock trial, Cam High placed fifth. This is the first time the team has made finals in five years. Three students were awarded for their efforts, Omeed Tavasoli, sophomore, who placed third in best defense witness, Alan Cha, senior, who placed third in best prosecution witness, and Helen Zhang, freshman, who also placed third for best prosecution witness. The Cam High mock trial team also awarded Christine Ibraham, senior, the team MVP award.