Friday, October 30, 2009

Community College Challenges Ivy League in Mock Trial Competition

I love, love, love a good underdog, as well as a solid community college education – and a lively courtroom drama.

So when I read the Chicago Daily Herald's article about Elgin Community College's American Bar Association approved paralegal program being the only community college competing in Harvard's Crimson Classic mock trial tournament in Boston next week, my first thought was:

"Yes! Bring it ON!"

The team will compete against some of the most prestigious Ivy League schools - Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton and Cornell.

"This is remarkable for these students," team adviser and ECC paralegal professor Ronald Kowalczyk said. "These are nontraditional students who have full-time jobs and families to care for, yet they put in a tremendous amount of work."

Two years ago, ECC didn't even have a mock trial team. In the fall of 2007, Kowalczyk was approached by a student who had participated in mock trial in high school, and was hoping to join one in college.

Kowalczyk started the group, and in the first year students competed in just one tournament. Last year was the first full season.

"We've definitely grown since that first year," said ECC student and team President Anastasia "Asia" Toufexis of Elgin.

Nine of the team's 40 students were selected to compete in the upcoming Harvard tournament, Kowalczyk said. They will debate a murder case that each school received this summer.

This is a huge achievement for Elgin Community College's program, as well as national recognition of an outstanding paralegal training program. I am wishing them the best of success in the mock trial experience of a lifetime – and of course, rooting for the underdog.

Related Post: Paralegal Student Appointed to College Board of Trustees

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