Drexel Pledges Support for 2010 National High School Mock Trial Contest
May 30, 2008 — Officials from Drexel University signed on as leadership sponsors of the 2010 National High School Mock Trial Competition, to be held in Philadelphia and hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Acting on behalf of Drexel President Constantine Papadakis, Dean Roger Dennis of the Earle Mack School of Law delivered a pledge of $100,000 to PBA President Andrew F. Susko at a ceremony on May 30.
“Mock trial competitions are such a great way to improve one’s education as a high school student,” Dennis said. “We are thrilled to be able as a university to support this premiere civic engagement program.”
Susko said Drexel’s support will enhance students’ opportunities.
“The contribution that Drexel University is making here to further the civic engagement of young men and women, high school students and giving them that opportunity is just truly incredible, and we are so thankful,” Susko said.
Dennis and Susko were joined by Mark Greenberg, dean of the Pennoni Honors College, and Francine Boone, associate general counsel for the university.
Also participating were students from Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School, the reigning state champions of Pennsylvania’s high school mock trial competition.
Ian Wiley, a senior at Overbrook and captain of the school’s championship team, said mock trial competition helps students both intellectually and socially.
“It gives students opportunities to get involved,” Wiley said, crediting the process with improved academic performance and reduced violence at school.
Philip Beauchemin, a teacher at Overbrook and coach of the mock-trial team, said competition in the courtroom has a way of leveling the playing field between students who are affluent and those who are not.
“They realize that if they work very hard, they can compete with really affluent kids,” said Beauchemin, who has coached numerous championship teams over the years.
With several Earle Mack School of Law students volunteering their time to help with the coaching effort at Overbrook in the last year, Dennis said the project fits well with the law school’s objectives.
“That’s really in our blood to have our students go out to help these excellent young advocates,” he said.
Earle Mack School of Law student Amy Schmitt said that she, too, benefited from working with Overbrook students.
“It was really helpful to me,” Schmitt said. “It sharpened my litigation skills. I think it benefitted me more than my helping them did for them.”
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