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El Paso High School Mock Trial team reaches new heights

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT – June 18, 2024) — The El Paso High School Mock Trial team has big aspirations for the next semester. The team exceeded expectations earlier this year when they competed at the Texas High School Mock Trial regional competition in early Spring. 

Their regional win allowed them to take part in the highly competitive state contest in March. At the state competition, the team finished in third place out of the 24 teams that participated. This is the highest ranking a team from El Paso has achieved at the state level since 2011. 

El Paso Judge Selena Solis, one of the team’s mentors, played a crucial role in preparing the students for the contest. She highlighted the immense effort the students put into their training. “We are basically teaching these kids what it’s like to prepare a case, develop a case, and present their side of the story, so a lot of these students gave up weekends and even holidays, so they could be ready to compete against these other talented students,” Solis said. “These young scholars had to memorize all the facts and statements. There’s a ton of detail that goes into this competition and these students wanted to be ready for anything that was thrown their way.” 

The Dallas Bar Association organizes the Mock Trial competition, which was established in 1979. Each year, over 160 schools from across the state participate in the event, according to the Dallas Bar Association. Teams are given a fictional case, and the students much play the roles of both attorneys and witnesses in a ‘mock’ trial. Members work together to learn the facts of the case and create strategies for trial and compete against other schools. 

El Paso Attorney Chantel Crews, another mentor of the El Paso High team, noted how the competition prepares students for real-world challenges. “One of the significant takeaways from this competition is that students learn how to communicate more effectively,” Crews said. “The contest also teaches students critical thinking skills and provides them with an understanding of how our judicial system works.” 

Following the competition, the City of El Paso recognized the students by issuing a proclamation on June 4, 2024, declaring it “El Paso High School Mock Trial Team Day.” 

The team thanked their mentors including teacher Dawn Zumar, who stayed with the students every step of the way and even bought supplies for the students.  


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