For the first time in its over 40-year history, the annual Ventura County Mock Trial competition is moving to weekends. Mock Trial has previously been held over four weeknights at the Ventura County courthouse and the competition often lasts late into the night. Moving the competition to weekends means students will no longer have to stay up late on school nights. It will also make transportation easier for students and their families. Parents will be less likely to need time off from work to drive their children to the courthouse. And students with provisional driver’s licenses that prohibit driving after 11:00 pm will be able to drive themselves.
he 2024 Mock Trial will be held on the weekends of February 10-11 and February 24-25. Last year, approximately 600 students from 25 Ventura County schools participated. The change to weekends comes after close consultation with Mock Trial coaches from schools throughout the county. In a survey conducted by the Ventura County Office of Education, 75% of the coaches said the move would be beneficial to their students.
“This will allow students to focus on their classes during the week and then turn their attention to the Mock Trial competition on the weekend,” said Manuel Alamillo, the Mock Trial coach at Santa Paula High School. “Prior to this change, students got home any time between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am. Then they had to wake up early and get ready for a full day of school. This meant a Mock Trial student could have up to four 14-hour days, depending on their advancement in the competition. Moreover, a weekend competition will allow more parents, faculty, and staff to attend and witness the brilliant performances their students work so diligently to prepare for.”
2024 Mock Trial to be Bigger than Ever
A record number of students are expected to participate in the 2024 Ventura County Mock Trial. Part of the reason for the growth is the expansion of the competition to include middle school students in addition to high school students. In last year’s pilot, five Ventura County middle schools fielded Mock Trial teams, and even more will participate this time. Ventura County is one of the only counties in California to open its Mock Trial competition to middle school students.
More about Mock Trial
The Mock Trial competition is coordinated annually by the Ventura County Office of Education. The event brings courtroom drama to life as students take on the roles of participants in a criminal case, including attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs, and journalists. Students present their cases in real courtrooms before actual local judges who volunteer for the competition. Local attorneys serve as scorers. The winning high school Mock Trial team advances to the statewide competition. More information about the Ventura County Mock Trial is available here.