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Washington high school students to compete this weekend for state Mock Trial champions, chance at national title.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener presided over two rounds of Mock Trial competition on Saturday at the Thurston County Superior Court. Hundreds of Washington state high school students from 24 schools competed this weekend in Olympia to become the Washington state Mock Trial champions as they take on the roles of either
prosecution or defense in a fictitious criminal trial inspired by the Edward Snowden case.

Mock Trial is part of the YMCA Youth & Government Program, which works to help young people experience democracy in action through both Mock Trial and the YMCA Youth Legislature program. The Youth & Government program celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2012, and the
Mock Trial program celebrated its 25th anniversary the same year.

Mock Trial allows students to participate in a true-to-life courtroom drama. High school teams of attorneys and witnesses prepare the case for trial and compete at district levels before real judges in actual courtrooms. “Juries" of attorneys rate the teams for their presentation, while the presiding judges rule on the motions, objections, and ultimately the merits. Participants develop critical thinking and analytical skills, learn the art of oral advocacy, and gain a respect for the role of law and the judiciary.

Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu will preside over the championship round of the competition.