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Jewish high school mock trial team wins Massachusetts, on to national championship

The win represents Gann Academy’s aim to train young Jewish adults who are “proud citizens of their local and global communities,” said Dalia Hochman, head of school.

The Great Hall in Faneuil Hall in Boston. Credit: Wikipedia.
The Great Hall in Faneuil Hall in Boston. Credit: Wikipedia.

The mock trial team of Gann Academy, a Jewish high school in Waltham, Mass., went undefeated en route to winning the state championship of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2023 High School Mock Trial Program on March 28.

The team beat out more than 100 high schools in the state, including ones that are several times larger than Gann, according to a school release. On May 18-20, Gann will compete in the National High School Mock Trial Championship in Little Rock, Ark.

“We are particularly proud that we won both the Massachusetts Mock Trial state championship as well as the national Moot Beit Din competitions this year,” Dalia Hochman, head of school at Gann, a community school, told JNS.

“These two competitions represent the essence of Gann’s mission: building knowledgeable, connected Jewish young adults who are also proud citizens of their local and global communities,” she said.

The state championship was held in the great hall of Faneuil Hall, a historic site owned by the city of Boston and operated by the National Park Service. Co-captains Sadie Medros, Lev Kotler-Berkowitz and Sophie Berk led Gann to defeat Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School to secure the championship.

The fictional case involved a wing severed from a stunt plane, and lawyers for both sides had to litigate whether the defect was a design flaw or pilot error.

“I am continually amazed by the students’ intellectual acumen and work ethic,” Yoni Kadden, Gann’s mock trial coach, said in the release. “Their collaboration and commitment led to this first-ever championship win for Gann.”

Earlier this month, Gann won the Maimonides Moot Court, a Jewish law competition for high-schoolers, which was held in Maryland. Gann’s boys’ basketball team also won the Massachusetts Bay Independent League championship—for the second year in a row—in February.

“Our mock trial team shows us what happens when Gann students work together and set high standards,” Hochman stated in the release. “They are prepared to be leaders and to debate the great ideas that will face us in the future. We are incredibly proud.”

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