After winning three consecutive matches without a blemish, Huntington High School’s mock trial team has advanced to the Suffolk County playoffs.
The Blue Devils are among five teams countywide to boast a 3-0 record with the others being Bay Shore, East Islip, Ward Melville and Kings Park. The playoffs begin this week at the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip. Huntington has been spending long hours prepping for the looming courtroom battle.
Huntington will square-off against West Babylon in the opening match for both teams in the Sweet 16 round. If the Blue Devils win, they will advance to face the winner of East Islip vs. Mattituck in the Elite Eight round.
“The season is going great so far,” senior Alyssa Befumo said. “The team is very excited to be progressing to the next round of competition. We’re extremely lucky to have such talented and dedicated underclassmen working with us this year.”
Teachers Sarah Buchalter and Suzie Biagi serve as the Huntington mock trial team’s faculty advisors. Huntington alums Xavier Palacios and Jack Piana are the Blue Devils’ legal advisors.
“Seeing all of the time and hard work we’ve put in so far payoff in our recent competitions is so rewarding,” sophomore Lena Annunziata said. “I’m hopeful we will make it far into the playoffs coming up this week.”
The statewide mock trial program has clear educational objectives. “Co-sponsored by The New York Bar Foundation, high school students have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of civil/criminal law and courtroom procedures,” according to the Bar Association’s website. “Thousands of students participate each year. Objectives of the tournament are to: Teach students ethics, civility and professionalism; Further students’ understanding of the law, court procedures and the legal system; Improve proficiency in basic life skills, such as listening, speaking, reading and reasoning; Promote better communication and cooperation among the school community, teachers and students and members of the legal profession and heighten appreciation for academic studies and stimulate interest in law-related careers.”