What a weekend at Princeton! What a way to end the BHS MC 2009 year! Over Easter weekend, 23 bhsmcers, 11 court teams of two, attended the Princeton Moot Court that took place on the Princeton campus, unlike the Princeton Model Congress in November that takes place in Washington, DC. The PMCourt hosted 47 court teams from 8 schools. This was the third time bhsmc attended this conference, last time being in 2007 and 2001, both times with half as many students, and not making the final tourney.
<br /><br />The BHS MCourt teams were led by senior veterans AJ Bishop & Dan Rimm, Dominique Ruddy & Shane Emery, Taryn Mockus & Rachel Cassella, Monica Ague & Delaram Takyar, Katrina Perito & Corey Wells, Kylie Broughal & Keah Lonergan, Gio Esposito & Sergei Poljak, Nicole Hobbs & Caitlin ONeill, Leigh Kamin & Juliana Venegas, Griff Radulski & Alex Roberts, Kseniya Shavrova & Cath Pierre-Louis, and Billy Irwin as an alternate. Only Bishop and Rimm had attended the 2007 conference, as promising sophomores.
<br /><br />Moot Court competition is a simulation of an appeals court or Supreme Court hearing, typically raising a constitutional issue, in this conference case involving the wearing of a controversial TShirt by Ms Lucy Sky, and the consequent challenges to her 1st Amendent freedom of expression and religion as well as her 14 Amendment rights involving citizenship privileges and protections. Each round has one team acting as petitioner or respondent, each given 20 minutes to make their case in front of a judge, or judges, who may interrupt and ask questions at any time. Thus, the competition tests student knowledge of the law as well as their public speaking and logical reasoning skills. Since moot courts are not concerned with the credibility of witnesses, they are an effective strategy for focusing student attention on the underlying principles and concepts of justice and teaching them to interpret precedent and make effective use of a case law.
<br /><br />Arriving on campus on a sunny warm Thursday afternoon, bhsmers checked into the first class historic Nassau Inn located in the heart of Princeton, then went on a 2 hour walkin, talkin tour led by Petela and his camera, that took advantage of the late afternoon sun setting, shadowy picture perfect time to take many group photos of the troops before battle began on Friday. (See Photo Gallery, pictures have been uploaded:). Dinner at Sottos, a fine Italian restaurant, followed by incredible ice cream at the famous Bent Spoon soon after, fully satisfied the hungry bhsmcers, and energized them to stay up late into the night, early morning going over their 100 page court brief. The troops were also briefed on tourney logistics by the conference directors Julie and Anthony, who joined us for dinner and then came to the hotel for a brief info session.
<br /><br />Waking early, many bhsmcers continued their focus, grind and game faces
going over cases preparing for the four rounds that were to come that Friday afternoon and evening. Teams were scored on a 50 point system for speaking performance and content knowledge as well as for teamwork. Although the scores were not made known at days end, it was obvious bhsmc teams were competitive and compelling in their performances.
<br /><br />After the 5th and final round Saturday morning, the sweet 16 teams were announced for the final tournament. Seven bhsmc teams, more than any other school by far, made it -- Bishop & Rimm, Ruddy & Emery, Ague & Takyar, Perito & Wells, Broughal & Lonergan, Hobbs & ONeill, Radulski & Roberts. After tourney Round 1, four bhsmc teams advanced to the quarter finals -- Bishop & Rimm, Ague & Takyar, Hobbs & ONeill, Radulski & Roberts. The Semis saw two remaining bhsmc teams pitted vs each other like Princeton Tigers -- Seniors Bishop & Rimm vs Juniors Hobbs ONeill, with the Juniors winning by a 3-2 judges decision. (3-5 judges, Princeton students, part of their college moot court team, judged the tourney rounds).
<br /><br />The Finals, featuring bhsmcers Hobbs & ONeill vs a team from New Jersey (which had won the tourney in October), were held in the historic Whig hall, in front of 9 Princeton judges, and a room full of students. After 40 minutes of poised, patient and effective argument, rebuttal, and debate by the bhsmc team, a 5-4 decision was awarded to the team of Hobbs & ONeill! As might be expected, applause erupted from the bhsmc side of the hall
not to mention a few fotos were snapped from yours truly, a tear or two was also experienced by a few!
<br /><br />A large trophy was awarded to the winning team of Hobbs & ONeill, as well as to the 3rd place team of Bishop & Rimm. Also receiving awards - gavels - for their outstanding individual attorney performances was soph Delaram Takyar, juniors Nicole Hobbs & Katrina Perito, and senior Dan Rimm. To say again, it was great ending to a great year for BHS Model Congress