Catlin Gabel Wins State Mock Trial Competition

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Press Release

Mar 16, 2004

For Immediate Release

Contact: Becky Kessler

503-297-1894 x 301

Catlin Gabel Wins State Mock Trial Competition

Team will go on to national competition in Orlando

PORTLAND, Ore., March 16, 2004 — This past Friday and Saturday, Catlin Gabel’s mock trial team beat teams from nineteen other schools to win the state mock trial competition. The Catlin Gabel team will go on to compete against teams from 46 states in the national competition in Orlando, Fla. this May. The competition is sponsored by the non-profit Classroom Law Project.

The 18th annual Oregon Mock Trial Competition took place at the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland. Students acted as prosecutors, defense attorneys, and witnesses in a fictional murder trial involving a high school student accused of killing a classmate. The competition consisted of three successive trials, with winning teams matched together after each round. In the final trial, Catlin Gabel and Grant High School competed for the state title in an extremely well argued case by both sides.

The Catlin Gabel team is composed of ten students: a sophomore, four juniors, and five seniors. All five seniors have participated in mock trial for the four years of their high school careers. The team meets after school, and has been preparing for the competition by rehearsing three times a week since the beginning of January. Senior Madison Kaplan describes the experience as “very high stress. Doing mock trial is like adding another class. It’s a big thing to add spring term, especially for seniors.” The Catlin Gabel mock trial program began in 1989, and is supported by two volunteer lawyers and a faculty member who coach the team. In the past four years, Catlin Gabel has placed in the top three in state competition, winning in 2001.

The mock trial program provides a wonderful learning experience for students, says John Keyes, the team’s faculty coach, “Students analyze a case, learn complex rules and think on their feet. It combines performance, thinking skills and poise in a high-pressure situation. Students become incredibly absorbed in it.”

Students agree there is much to be learned from participating in mock trial. “Its fun because of the acting element, the thinking on your feet, and the team work. There is something for everyone,” says senior Anushka Shenoy, “I’ve gotten way better at arguing- my parents can attest to that!” Senior Madison Kaplan agrees, saying, “I like being able to stand in front of a group of people confident, knowledgeable, and prepared to counter any argument.”

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The Catlin Gabel School is an independent, co-educational day school, dedicated to student individuality, academic excellence, multiculturalism and lifelong learning. The school’s dynamic pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade curriculum combines academics with arts, physical education and a strong sense of community service. Catlin Gabel is independently governed by a Board of Trustees and is not supported by tax or church monies. For more information, please visit

Classroom Law Project is a non-profit organization of educators, lawyers, and civic leaders building strong communities by teaching students to participate as informed and active citizens. As Thomas Jefferson recognized the need for an enlightened citizenry to preserve a democracy, Classroom Law Project seeks to provide opportunities for students to practice citizenship skills and become involved in public policy issues. For more information, please visit