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Arcadia High School wins L.A. County Mock Trial title

December 1, 2010 |  3:20 pm

A group of Arcadia High School students new to the art of mock trials defeated a team of formidable opponents from Harvard-Westlake prep school to become L.A. County Mock Trial champions.

That the Arcadia team was founded only last year by two students, Ray Chao and Andrew Chang, made Monday's victory in the event sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation particularly sweet, the team said.

The students did not know anything about mock trials and taught themselves the craft by attending coach orientations and recruiting parents to help, said Chao, a senior.

“How could we say no to Ray’s youthful exuberance? Even though I admit I tried to talk him out of it, knowing how much work is involved in putting on a trial,” L.A. County Superior Court Judge Tia Fisher, co-head coach of the Arcadia team, said in an e-mail.

Fisher had carpooled with Chao’s parents since their children were in second grade, and her husband, Greg Fisher, a retired public defender, became her co-head coach.

The team was crushed by an early defeat in last year’s competition. But that motivated them to work harder, recruiting more students and coaches, Chao said.

This year they set the record for being the newest team to win the title of county champion and became one of the few public schools to win the competition in Mock Trial history, according to a statement from Arcadia High School.

In March, the Arcadia students will compete in the state finals in Sacramento.

“It’s hard to believe that just 14 months ago, this team didn’t exist,” Chao wrote on his personal blog. “I honestly cannot believe how far we have come.”

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-- Ching-Ching Ni

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