Venture Mock Trial Takes 5th in International Competition

Venture competed against 40 teams from six countries and 22 U.S states at Empire Mock Trial World Championship in New York City

The Venture Academy Family of Schools high school mock trial team took fifth place at the Empire Mock Trial World Championship in New York City, a competition that allows some of the world's best mock trial teams to test their skills against each other. This year the competition drew 40 teams from six countries and 22 U.S. states, including four teams from California.

This was the first time a mock trial team from San Joaquin County was selected to compete in the competition. Last year the Venture mock trial team took fifth place in the California State Mock Trial Competition. The cases tried in the Empire competition are designed to be more complex than the teams would normally use in state and regional competition.

"It was an honor to be chosen to compete at that level. Many of the teams were state champions that have previously competed at nationals," Venture coach Spencer Wright said. "The students worked hard to prepare the case for four months, and their preparation paid off."

The Empire World Championship trials were held on Nov. 17-18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Competing teams argued the case of U.S. vs. McCarson, which concerns a white nationalist accused of committing a federal hate crime. The case is fictional, but the scenario is reminiscent of the real-world protests and riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. The team from Venture tried the case four times during the competition. It was eliminated during the semifinals. The winning team was American Heritage School, in Florida. Connor Wright, a Venture junior, earned a Top Attorney award.

"Empire New York was an amazing and unforgettable adventure, and I am glad that I got to experience it with my teammates. It was such an honor to travel across the country and represent our school at an international competition," said Sarah Kinney, a junior on the Venture team.

Venture Academy Family of Schools is a charter school operated by the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE). Venture Academy has been the San Joaquin County Mock Trial champion for five consecutive years. The next county competition is in February.

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Posted: 11/27/2018