Cajon High takes first place in County Mock Trial finals

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Photo SBCUSD: Top row left to right: Emory Ho, Kaitlyn Aguirre, Attorney Coach Lisa Mann, Ruben Cerda-Vargas; 2nd Middle Row: Fatima Mora-Popoca, Amelia Soto, Andrew Altamirano, Trapp Fought; 3rd Middle Row: left to right: Andrew Gonzales, Guisselle Salazar, Moyosoreoluwa Oduntan., Kevin Amilpa; Bottom Row: Bottom Row: Cassandra Davis, Coach Robert Grande Not Pictured: Celesté Alvarez, Coach Stephen Gonzales Attorney Coach: William Drake, Attorney Coach Gina Florick.

The Cajon High School Cowboys took first place in the 39th Annual San Bernardino County Mock Trial finals when it defeated Los Osos High School in the event finals held virtually on Jan. 23.. Cajon now advances to the California Mock Trial Finals scheduled for March 18–21, 2021.

“Mock Trial was an adventure that turned into a joy ride of growth and camaraderie,” said head coach Robert Grande. “The students did this for the City of San Bernardino, the local community, and most importantly for Cajon High School.”

The victory marked the second title in three years for Cajon as it advances to the state competition in March. The team from San Bernardino City Unified won their first County title at the 2018-2019 competition.

“We are excited for another opportunity to participate in the state Mock Trial competition. It is a great honor because we know we have competed against several phenomenal teams, such as Los Osos,” said Cajon Principal Teenya Bishop. “Our hopes are that we can continue to represent our school, District, and county well.”

Los Osos High of the Chaffey Joint Union High has been a persistent power having reached its first final in 2017. The team has consistently made the semifinals since 2015.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Michael Sachs congratulated both teams for their knowledge of judicial procedures and their preparation throughout the contest. County Superintendent Ted Alejandre also congratulated both teams for their tenacity and competitive spirit.

Over 400 students representing 26 high school teams participated in the Mock Trial virtual competition this year. Each participating school prepared a prosecution and defense team to try this year’s case. This year’s case was People v. Croddy— the trial of Lee Croddy, an aiding and abetting case. A courtroom judge presides over each match, and teams are scored on several factors, not just winning or losing the case.

Under the direction of head coach Robert Grande and coaches Stephen Gonzales, Bill Drae, and Gina Florick, team members for Cajon include Kaitlyn Aguirre, Raymond Altamirano, Celeste Alvarez, Kevin Amilpa, Ruben Cerda-Vargas, Cassandra Davis, Trapp Fought, Andrew Gonzales, Emory Ho, Jazzmonae Jenkins, Fatima Mora-Popoca, Moyosoreoluwa Oduntan, Guisselle Salazar, Amelia Soto, and Jorge Zepeda.

For Los Osos and coach Erick Pielstick, team members are Joshua Bahk, Rachel Bahk, Ceasar Cassell, Rohan Chowdhury, Shannon Farren-Stroud, Grace Fermin, Ronnie Hafez, Gianna Kim, Joseph Opp, Gina Park, Alanna Quinn, Audrey Tucker, Gary Wu, Lina Zaki, Alisa Zhang, Cheryl Zhang, and Jack Ziemienski.

The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office co-sponsor the event.