Administered by the Orange County Department of Education, PCHS is an independent study program based in Tustin that operates similar to a community college, offering rigorous online and on-campus academic courses.
PCHS Principal Machele Kilgore said that although her school fields a strong team each year, this team had a high concentration of younger, less experienced students. So making it to the championship was even more of an accomplishment.
“This young team came out of the gate winning every competition against other powerhouse high schools over the past month,” she said. “Each round was filled with compliments for our students from the judge and the lawyers who score the competition.”
PCHS also made it to the final round in 2016, finishing as the runner-up to a team from Trabuco Hills High School.
Mock Trial is a civic education program that combines performance-based, law-related education with tournament-style, academic competition. High school students, working in teams under the guidance of volunteer attorney coaches and teachers, analyze the facts of a hypothetical criminal court case, prepare trial strategy and enact every role in the trial proceedings, as members of either the prosecution or defense.
The teams present their cases in real courtrooms before sitting judges and are scored by volunteer attorneys. More than 800 high school students from 50 local high schools annually participate in the Mock Trial program that also includes courtroom art and journalism contests. Saturday’s winner will advance to the statewide Mock Trial competition.