2013-04-19 / Community

In a class of their own

Frontier High School honored for mock trial program
By Dawn Witlin

The mock trial program at Frontier High School has earned its students and faculty a civic learning award.

The award is co-sponsored by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Judith McConnell, presiding justice of the 4th District Court of Appeals in San Diego, said the award recognizes California public schools that offer courses or extracurricular activities that engage students in the democratic process.

“We think it’s important that our students understand our democracy because how can you be a good juror, voter or participant in the community if you don’t understand how our government operates?” McConnell said. “When the people stop caring about or engaging in their government, we will lose our wonderful democracy.”

Kim Dallape, Frontier High ASB adviser and mock trial coach, explained further.

“The mock trial introduces our kids to how the judicial system works,” Dallape said. “It requires them to really get an in-depth understanding of a constitutional issue.”

Dallape said February’s mock trial competition focused on a hit-and-run accident and required students to argue for both the prosecution and defense in front of an adult panel of mock jurors played by real judges, lawyers, courtroom sketch artists and court reporters.

The team of 11 Frontier students competed against teams from Newbury Park High School, La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks and Agoura High School. Students were judged on their ability to present accurate courtroom arguments and adhere to formal courtroom procedures.

The civic learning award will be presented to Frontier High School by Judge Brian Back of the Ventura Superior Court at a ceremony at the high school on Tues., April 30.

Nicole Bourdon, a 17-yearold

Frontier junior who played lead prosecutor in the February mock trial competition, said the award confirms that the continuation school provides educational programs on par with traditional high schools.

“It makes me feel really great to win this award,” Bourdon said. “Frontier has been validated because we’ve been recognized for our hard work, and it feels good to know that we can still succeed and compete against any other high school.”

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