Brawley Wins Second Mock Trial Championship In A Row

JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO Brawley Union High School mock trial team captain Sophia Carrillo (center) reacts after her team won the Imperial County Mock Trial competition against Southwest High School at Imperial County Superior Court in El Centro on Thursday. Carrillo said, “I felt tears of joy.”

Tears and cries of joy filled the courtroom Wednesday night as defending champion Brawley Union High School beat Southwest High School for the title of Imperial County Mock Trial champion. “I feel amazing, rejuvenated, excited: all of those things,” Brawley’s team captain, senior Sophia Carrillo said.

Brawley will advance to the state competition in Riverside from March 20 to 22.

Last year was the first year Brawley had ever won the local competition. This year makes the second.

Mock trial competition began last fall with seven local high schools and came down to the final trial Thursday at the Imperial County Courthouse in El Centro. The Brawley team was the defense and the Southwest team was the prosecutors.

JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO Judge Roger Benitez gives pointers to
Brawley Union and Southwest High School students before
announcing the winning team Thursday.

“This is Brawley’s only academic competition so it’s really important,” Carrillo said.

“It’s important to have an academic activity for students,” said Sherrie Newell, fourth-year team coach and a Brawley Union High English teacher.

"The mock trials teach analytical reasoning and critical thinking, help refine communication skills and it really makes students think on their feet,” said Deborah Owen, Imperial County senior deputy district attorney and attorney coach for Brawley.

In addition to skills learned, many students involved in the competition aspire to become lawyers, as does Carrillo. “To become a lawyer is my ultimate dream,” Carrillo said.

This dream became much more real as mock trials gave way to experience in the courtroom. Southwest senior Jack Mills also said that his final year of mock trial has influenced his thoughts of becoming a lawyer.

“I’ve known at least five lawyers who were involved in mock trial in Imperial County and at least three of those work for the Department of Justice or the U.S. Attorney’s office,” Judge Roger Benitez said.

An Imperial County mock trial awards banquet will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at Central Union High School in El Centro.

Article Reprinted Courtesy of Imperial Valley Press