In early February, members of the Oxnard High Academic Decathlon Team defeated 12 other schools throughout the county in the 10-event competition that is designed to include students from all academic backgrounds. The Yellowjackets earned a total of 41,216 points to outscore Westlake High, which finished second with 38,990 points. Thousand Oaks High placed third with 37,783.
Three weeks later, members of the Yellowjackets’ Mock Trial Team showed their legal prowess by placing first out of 24 teams in the countywide event, unseating last year’s county champion, the Newbury Park High Gold Team. They also outperformed perennial power La Reina High School of Thousand Oaks in the courtroom. La Reina had won the County Mock Trial 15 times since 1990 and was the 2008 State Mock Trial champion.
Oxnard High became the first school to win both the County Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial competitions in the same year. Both teams also performed well at the state finals, with the Academic Decathlon squad placing 28th out of 62 teams in Sacramento and the Mock Trial team finishing 15th out of 34 teams in San Jose.
John Tarkany of the Ventura County Office of Education was on hand to present the County Championship trophies to Chris Conte, coach of Oxnard High’s Academic Decathlon team, and Keith Koch, faculty advisor for the Mock Trial team.
Members of Oxnard High’s Academic Decathlon Team receiving Certificates of Achievement from the Board were Danielle Bonucchi, Matt Gintjee, Brandon Nguyen, Sarah Watte, Jennifer Oakley, Caitlyn Gintjee, Karen Watson, Natalia Luna and Diane Kreil. Aminah Hassoun, a member of Oxnard High’s 2008 Academic Decathlon team, who served as assistant coach, also was honored. She is now attending California Lutheran University.
The Yellowjackets’ Mock Trial Team receiving Certificates of Achievement were defense attorneys Irene Dang, Diane Kreil and Sarah Maxel; prosecution attorneys Marissa Wenzke, Nycole Cole and Ainslie Tarr; defense witnesses Drew Thomas, Natalie Mabalot, Patricia Carrillo and Katie Rice; prosecution witnesses Roy Arguello, Garrett Naumann, Chantelle Lewis and Arianna Gillam; bailiff Ricardo Jalteco; and timekeeper/clerk John Yaw.
The Board also lauded the local attorneys Victor Salas, Tom Dunlevy, David Russell and Beth Thomas, who volunteered their time to coach the Yellowjackets.
In addition, the OUHSD board honored Channel Islands High’s Mock Trial Team that qualified for the County Finals for the first time in the school’s history and placed sixth. Members were Lawrence An, Jan Aquino, Ian Cahatol, Edward Chua, Eduardo Delgado, Eirenel Eclevia, Ryan Gonzales, Maryanne Gido, John Horario, Vince Labinpuno, Alexis Lara, Taylor Morales, Honey Narvante, Samantha Plete, Arilee Rivera, Julian Roque, Kevin Siron and Ignacio Tapia.
English instructor Monica Adrian served as the team’s faculty advisor. Attorney coaches were Jessica Arciniega, Andres Garcia, Gay Zide and Michele Castillo.