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March 04, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, March 04, 2005

Amador almost wins its case in Mock Trials Amador almost wins its case in Mock Trials (March 04, 2005)

Students from the Mock Trial Honors Club at Amador Valley High School ranked first in the Alameda County section of the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) National Mock Trial Competition but were upset by Granada High at the semifinal competition last week.

Amador Valley students participating as trial attorneys in the Alameda County competition were Kiel Barry, Valencia Herrera, Melinda Hespen, David Crisostomo, Venkat Mocherla, Lori Mullins, Randal Droher, Jenny Zhan, Brandon Dybdal, Lavanya Wusirika, Allie Dunworth, Jeff Hunter, Amanda Carrozza, Jasmine Guo, Ashley Smyth and Jon Ma.

They completed with students from seven other high schools around the county. Again this year, they were coached by Pleasanton couple Melinda Garcia and Tod Gurney. Garcia is a local Pleasanton attorney in private practice, and Gurney is an attorney at Hopkins Carley in San Jose. Their teacher is Stephanie Elewski.

"This year we selected the students after mandatory participation in a six-week trial boot camp," said Garcia. "Only the brightest and most hardworking made it."

"I've heard two of the competition judges say that the students are better prepared than many professional attorneys who come before them," she added.

The Mock Trial program was created to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system and develop analytical abilities and communication skills. It also helps them understand their obligations and responsibilities as members of our society.

The Mock Trial Honors Club at Amador is funded entirely by the students through candy and water sales and by donations from area law firms. For more information, contact advisor Melinda Garcia at 475-2025. -Dolores Fox Ciardelli

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