The 25th Annual Virgin Islands High School Appellate Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the Virgin Islands Bar Association was held May 21 and 23, with 12 teams competing from St. Croix Central High School, Good Hope Country Day School, St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist School, Charlotte Amalie High School, Antilles School, All Saints Cathedral High School and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School.
The competition provided an opportunity for high school seniors in the U.S. Virgin Islands to vie for scholarship prizes by presenting oral arguments in which they analyzed relevant legal issues in a mock appellate court proceeding. Members of the VIBA and school faculty mentored the students and advised the teams regarding the substance and presentation of their arguments.
During the first two days of competition, each team presented their arguments to a three-judge panel comprised of local attorneys who selected the top two teams from each district. March 23, the final day of competition, the selected teams presented their arguments before a three-judge panel comprised of Judge Robert Molloy, Judge Douglas Brady and U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller from the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands and the District Court of the Virgin Islands.
This year the students were presented with a challenging hypothetical case involving a Syrian immigrant seeking asylum and withholding of removal based on a fear of persecution in Syria. These issues directly implicate timely and relevant legal issues in our national and local communities.
The winner of the competition was the Appellee team from Eudora Kean High School, comprised of KiAndre Thomas, Dorrencia Gray and Jahveed George, coached by attorney Melanie Turnbull. Second Place was awarded to the Appellee team from St. Croix Central High School, comprised of Laurie Cedeno, Patricia Zablan and Indeyah Todman, coached by attorneys Kelvin Vialet and Chloe Sellers. Third Place was awarded to the Appellee team from All Saints Cathedral School, comprised of Kejuan Harrigan, Kimorah-Lin Blackett and Kejuan Harrigan, coached by attorney Tina Commissiong. Fourth Place was awarded to the Appellee team from Good Hope Country Day School, comprised of Avery White, Nia Canton and Nayan Bansal coached by attorney Michael Rogers. The award for Best Oralist was presented to Good Hope Country Day School student Avery White.
President of the V.I. Bar Association, Chivonne A.S. Thomas Esq., congratulated the students, attorney coaches, teachers and parents of the competing students. “On behalf of the members of the V.I. Bar Association, we hope that the Moot Court Competition was an unforgettable and enriching experience for the participating students.”