HomeClubsCHS courtroom journalist and artist proceed to national mock trial tournament

CHS courtroom journalist and artist proceed to national mock trial tournament

Published May 10, 2024

BY GRAYDEN MILLER

After conquering the California High School Mock Trial State Championships, courtroom journalist Avery Palshaw and courtroom artist Ky Dahle moved on to the National High School Mock Trial Championship May 3 and 4 in Wilmington, Delaware, and represented California alongside the state’s championship team.

Mock trial is an academic competition in which teams prepare criminal and civil cases to present against other schools, often before real judges. The additional courtroom artist and journalist competitions challenge artists and journalists to artistically depict, or to report on, these mock trials in real time, similar to those who report on court proceedings in real life.

Senior courtroom artist Ky Dahle, left, and junior courtroom journalist Avery Palshaw excelled in their respective fields to advance to the National High School Mock Trial Championship. (courtesy of ERIN IKEMIYA)

CHS students Palshaw, a junior, and Dahle, a senior, won the Monterey County mock trial competition alongside the CHS mock trial team, and accompanied them to the state championships in March where they each took first place in their respective competitions. Now, they are accompanying southern California’s Trinity Pacific Christian School, the state champions, to the final stage.

Dahle, who created her winning piece out of oil pastels in the third round of the state competition, was challenged to depict a real scene from the trial during the three hours in which it took place. Despite her nervousness about competing with her art in a new setting, Dahle explains that her comfortability in the arts gave her more confidence. 

“All I’m doing is what I’ve been doing,” explains Dahle. “I’m practicing what’s important, like depicting emotions on a figure in a short amount of time.”

On the other hand, Palshaw was handed the same case packet given to mock trial competitors prior to the competition to study the case and become familiar with its ins and outs. In preparation for nationals, the young journalist studied the new nationals packet, but says that it all depended on her writing abilities in the competition. She credits her success in the state competition to her experience in journalism outside of the courtroom. 

“The main factor that aided my success in the county and state competitions has been my prior knowledge of journalism’s basics through newspaper class,” explains the two-year staff writer for The Carmel Sandpiper. 

With experience in courtroom journalism, Palshaw previously won the Monterey County courtroom journalist contest and participated in the state level competition in 2023. She adds that this year she was motivated to compete because of the relationships she had built with the CHS mock trial team. 

“Ironically enough, I was mostly driven to compete again this year because I had so much fun going to Los Angeles with CHS’ mock trial team last year,” Palshaw says. “When I won state, it was a surprise, to say the least.” 

Palshaw shared Dahle’s excitement when it came to meeting competitors at the national level while getting to explore a state she’d never visited before. Dahle says that she was also excited to try East Coast food and become familiar with potential friends in art, a field she plans to pursue in college.

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