Student Competitions Encourage Learning

Mock Trial.
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Oxnard High School students celebrate their 2010 Ventura CountyMock Trial win. © VCOE
In Ventura County, it’s not only athletes who get to compete.

The Ventura County Office of Education’s Student Competitions & Fundraising Department, in cooperation with local business and community partners, supports world-class learning by hosting the Ventura County Science Fair, the Ventura County Mock Trial and the Ventura County Academic Decathlon.

These competitions encourage and recognize exceptionally talented young people in their pursuit of academic excellence and also provide them with valuable life skills in public speaking, interviewing, interpersonal communication, teamwork and solid work ethics.

Academic Decathlon
The County Schools Federal Credit Union Academic Decathlon provides high school students in Ventura County the opportunity to compete against like teams of students countywide. The competition has 10 academic events, culminating with the Super Quiz, the only portion open to the public.

A particularly unique aspect of this competition is that it includes students from all academic backgrounds. A team consists of nine full-time students from the 9th through 12th grades of the same high school. Each nine-member team is made up of three students whose grade point average falls in the “A” category, three students in the “B” category and three students in the “C” category.

Moorpark High has long dominated the Academic Decathlon in Ventura County, having won four national championships – in 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2009. Oxnard High School won last year’s Academic Decathlon title.

Mock Trial
In the County Schools Federal Credit Union Mock Trial, students in grades 9 to 12 portray each of the principals, from the prosecutor to the defendant, in the cast of courtroom characters. Each year, student teams study a new hypothetical case, conduct legal research, recieve guidance form volunteer attorneys in courtroom procedure and trial preparation, and present their case before actual presiding judges who volunteer their time.

About 200 Ventura County-based attorneys volunteer their time to serve as judges for the contest, which is held in actual courtrooms at Ventura County’s Hall of Justice.

In 2010, more than 500 students from 24 area schools participated, with Oxnard High defeating 2009 champion Newbury Park High. La Reign High of Thousand Oaks has won the county championship 15 times since 1990 and was the 2008 State Mock Trial champion.

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