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Sonoma Valley High Mock Trial team dominates county

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The Sonoma Valley High School Mock Trial team is the county mock-trial champion and the team participated in the State Championships in Sacramento, March 22 to 24. They are awaiting the final results.

“Sonoma County competition has really strengthened in the last few years,” said coach Janet Hansen. “We had a nail-biter final round with Cardinal Newman which we won on a tiebreaker.”

Mock Trial competitions simulate a criminal trial, with students trying the case as members of the defense and prosecution teams. Through performance-based education, the program attempts to instill an understanding of both the content and processes of the legal system; increase basic skills, analytical ability and self-confidence; and promote cooperation among students of various cultures and interests.

Research indicates that participation in mock-trial programs allows students to increase critical thinking, presentation and participation skills and self-esteem, as well as increase their knowledge about law.

Now in its 18th year, SVHS’s mock trial team has produced many debaters who have gone on to compete in college, including Delaney Gold-Diamond, who competed for University of Chicago, and Jessica Guest, who competed for UC Santa Barbara and UC Hastings Law School.

This year’s team is instructed by Dave Diamond and Kathy Richards, attorney coaches.

“I am very proud of the team; they held their own against some big powerhouse schools, and returning students will bring valuable skills and experience to next year,” said Hansen. “Mock Trial competition prep is turning into a year-round thing now; we’ll need to step up our game if we want to continue to be competitive. We’re thinking about how to increase practice time and raise funds to send students to more trainings and scrimmages.”

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