St. Mary's Academy won its first-ever Mock Trial State Championship March 16, placing first among the top 14 teams in Oregon. St. Mary's will go on to compete at the national mock trial championship in Indianapolis in May.
In the competition, organized at the regional and state level by the Classroom Law Project, students take on the roles of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses and jurors in fictional court battles. This was St. Mary's seventh consecutive year competing at state.
"This is such an honor for St. Mary's Academy and our mock trial program to win this championship. We have worked long and hard to get to this point," said Alyssa Tormala, St. Mary's English and journalism teacher and mock trial coordinator. Tormala holds a law degree from Stanford and spent six years in private practice before transitioning to teaching.
St. Mary's has a record 45 students participating in mock trial this year. It sent three teams to the regional competition. One of them — Team Silver — took first at regionals before going on to clinch the state title.
The skills St. Mary's students develop in the mock trial program will serve them well in college and in their careers, said Tormala.
"The beauty of mock trial is that students not only learn about the court system and legal procedure, but they also hone the essential skills of teamwork, public speaking, critical analysis and confident presentation, all of which apply broadly in the outside world," she said.
Here is the roster of the St. Mary's state championship mock trial team: Roxanne Glad, Anna McLean, Allison Emmet, Sophie Goddyn, Olivia Hinerfeld, Catherine Mattecheck, Madeleine McKerrow, Abby McManus, Grace McManus, Maddy Miller, Morgan Moses, Dori Mosman and Annamarie White.
The team is coached by assistant U.S. attorney and St. Mary's alumna Leah Bolstad, legal ethics expert Allison Rhodes and St. Mary's parent Karla Wenzel, who previously practiced law and currently is manager of pricing and tariffs at Portland General Electric.