Dutchess County high school mock trial team heading to statewide competition

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Faculty member Andrea DeMeo, center, with team captains and lead counsels are Mei Rao and Rachel Soliman..

DUTCHESS COUNTY – The Our Lady of Lourdes High School Mock Trial team has advanced to the statewide competition after winning the Region 4 tournament on May 10.  This is the first time in the history of the program that a team from Dutchess County will be participating in the state competition that begins on May 23. 

The Lourdes team is led by faculty member Andrea DeMeo, assisted by recent Lourdes’ graduate Emily Sadutto. The team captains and lead counsels are Mei Rao and Rachel Soliman. Tournament team members include Isabella Cho, Grace Bolander, Rebecca O’Connor, Brittany Reyes, Liam Gilmartin, Alexander Clark, Matthew Bubb, and Cutter Quinn. Additional team members are Amanda Reeves, Ashton Weiss, Maddox Weiss, Jenna Snyder, Julia Biamonte, Kayla Johannesen, Owen Barrett, and Sofia Giammatteo.

“When I first started coaching the mock trial team here at Our Lady of Lourdes in 2011, I had a goal that we would get Dutchess County to the state tournament. The students’ hard work and dedication have truly paid off!” said Coach DeMeo.

This year’s competition was conducted virtually due to the pandemic. Trials began in late January and were held weekly on the county level. Lourdes won the Dutchess County Championship on April 15. They went on to represent Dutchess County in the Region 4 competition. Region 4 consists of the winning team from Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Ulster counties.

The Region 4 tournament concluded on May 10, when Lourdes faced the Mount Academy, 2019 statewide runner-up, from Ulster County in the final before Judge David Everett. 

High school teams from public and non-public schools argue both sides of the case and assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses. Judges, usually local judges or attorneys, score the teams based on a rating sheet that includes scoring on preparation, performance, and professionalism. The top team from each of New York State’s eight regions is then invited to attend and participate in the state finals. 

Each year more than 400 teams and 1,500 volunteer attorneys participate in the New York State High School Mock Trial Program.

The New York State High School Mock Trial Program is a joint venture of The New York Bar Foundation, the New York State Bar Association, and the Law, Youth and Citizenship Program. In this educational program, high school students have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of civil and criminal law and courtroom procedures. The program is administered in Dutchess County by the Dutchess County Bar Association.