Students from Roman Catholic High School recently put their legal skills to the test in a mock court setting acting as prosecutors, witnesses, and defenders.

On March 25, Roman earned its first state title by defeating Cumberland Valley High School in the 40th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide High School Mock Trial Competition in Harrisburg.

Mock Trial is a competition in which students simulate a real trial. The trial concerns an official Pennsylvania Bar case that remains the same through the entire academic year. This championship marks the first time a team from Philadelphia has won the state crown in nearly 24 years.

Sophomore Patrick Holahan received best attorney honors and junior Aidan Conroy was recognized as best witness.

Earlier this month, some 245 teams from throughout the Commonwealth competed in district and regional levels with only 14 high schools, including Roman, advancing to the state level competition.

Roman earned its first state mock trial title March 25 by defeating Cumberland Valley High School at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, PA. (Photo: Roman Catholic High School)

Roman defeated Central High School to claim the Region 8 (City of Philadelphia) title. This is the school’s 9th City title in the past 10 years and 10th title overall.

Teams consist of six to eight students, but only six members compete at any given time with three attorneys and three witnesses. Teams must prepare both sides of the case for every competition.

Roman’s team is coached by Steven Patton, Esq., a 2008 alumnus of the school and an attorney at the Law Firm of McMonagle Perri; and John Pensabene, a long-time member of the school’s English Department.

Pensabene said the students have been preparing their case since November, “giving up every Saturday morning since then.”

“To win, it takes more than exceptional talent, which they had. This team decided very early in the season and to make this a united effort and work together to help each other succeed. It certainly paid off for them,” he said.

Members of Roman’s mock trial team include Jeremiah Brown ’23 (Audubon), Joshua Brown ’24 (Audubon), Aidan Conroy ’24 (Roxborough), Benjamin Foronda ’23 (Fort Washington), Michael Gedraitis ’23 (South Philadelphia), Troy Hammond ’23 (Mount Airy), Brennan Hewitt ’23 (South Philadelphia), Patrick Holahan ’25 (Center City).

Roman Catholic will represent the Commonwealth at the National Mock Trial Championship in Arkansas in May.

Roman students pose with their Region 8 (City of Philadelphia) mock trial title. (Photo: Roman Catholic High School)