On April 30, at the John Sopinka Courthouse, the STM Legal Knights squared off in the annual Ontario Bar Association/Ontario Justice Education Network Hamilton Championship. Having advanced in the tournament throughout the day, STM competed in the final round against last year’s winner, Hamilton Christian District. STM won the Championship, taking once again the gold medal title, since 2016.
The students presented their case before a panel of judges from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The mock trial winner is not determined by the outcome of the case, but teams are judged on their advocacy skills. The Legal Knights received much praise from the judges, on their professionalism, legal advocacy skills and courtroom decorum.
STM’s Principal Sara Cannon supported the Legal Knights throughout the day. Mrs. Cannon expressed “I congratulate our STM Legal Knights on their success in the Competitive Mock Trials. The skill and dedication of our students reflects well on them and will stand them in good stead as they continue their education and ultimately move on to their chosen careers.”
Congratulations to team members Mary Foley, Paul Buzzelli, Robert Delmonaco, David Esposto, Jennie O’Brien, Zeinab Harb, Vanessa Campanella, Michael Mattei, Olivia Barone and Madison Boyle.
“These students spent long hours practicing their legal submissions, analyzing cross examination strategies and court procedures” said Andrea Leone, STM law teacher and coach. “Mock trial allows students to showcase their increased self-confidence and public speaking skills.” The mock trial competition is well established within the grade 11 and 12 law curriculum. “Regardless of whether students ultimately pursue careers in law, the tournament experience helps students develop the skills that are valuable for other professions” noted Andrea Leone.
The Legal Knights thank their parents for their encouragement and support throughout the tournament. Appreciation is also extended to lawyer coaches Branko Kurpis and Matthew Johnstone, from the law firm of Sullivan Festeryga LLP for their ongoing support. Their mentorship and legal guidance was a great asset to the team. Mr Ciardullo, from the STM Yearbook for the team photo! In addition, to all the former Legal Knights students who returned from university to help cheer on the team!
Overall, the students saw the OBA/OJEN Mock Trial competition as a memorable experience. Grade 12 students expressed, “Having competed in the mock trial competition for two years now, I have developed excellent teamwork and collaboration skills. Participating with the Law team has also improved my communication and critical thinking skills; two invaluable traits for any given workplace, said Robert DelMonaco. “The STM Legal Knights is more than just an excellent academic exercise. It provides a platform for students to develop important skills that will benefit them in their future endeavors.” Grade 11 student Olivia Barone commented that “Participating in the mock trial has taught me a lot about a career path in law…working alongside my team, and previous alumni have inspired true success. It was an amazing experience!” “I am very lucky to have been given the chance to participate in such a great event. The OBA/OJEN Mock Trial is an excellent experience that gives students the opportunity to understand the challenges and importance of the justice system in an actual courthouse setting. I am proud to be an STM Legal Knight!” added grade 11 student Madison Boyle.