Central High School Moot Court Team Wins National Competition

Joshua Puckett, a senior in the Law and Government Magnet at Central High School, won the National Championship at the Marshall-Brennan National Moot Court Competition held in Philadelphia April 2-3.  His teammate and classmate, Mashayla Hays, was the runner-up.  This the first time in the history of the tournament that one school had two of the four finalists, much less finishing as the two most outstanding speakers in the entire competition.

The Central team was made up four outstanding seniors, all of whom made it to the tournament’s semi-final round.  Besides Joshua and Mashayla, the other two semi-finalists representing Central were Hau Duc Le and Chania Coleman.  The team was coached by Professor Sam Marcosson of the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, and two law school students, Cennet Kocakulah Braun and Lena Nash Seward.  They work with the students as one component of the School of Law’s partnership with Central’s Law and Government Magnet, and as part of the broader national Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project.  The Moot Court Competition brings together students from various Marshall-Brennan programs sponsored by law schools around the country, giving high school students the opportunity to put into practice the lessons about the constitutional rights they have learned throughout the year, and argue an actual case involving students’ rights under the First Amendment.

"Joshua and Mashayla were tremendous. The judges couldn’t have been more impressed with their knowledge of the cases and the law, or with their poise in answering questions," Professor Marcosson said about their final round performance.  "The coaches from other schools were just as complimentary."


The team was supported by the tireless commitment of the teacher of the Law and Government Magnet program at Central, Joe Gutmann, and Professor Laura Rothstein, who co-ordinates the law school’s partnership with the Magnet, and by  Central’s principal, Dr. Dan Withers. In addition, they got vital help from a number of volunteer attorneys who participated in practice rounds, and made generous donations to help finance the trip to Philadelphia. Several members of the Women Lawyers Association also contributed to the trip costs.   Emily Zahn, '08, of Dinsmore & Shohl, in particular, not only contributed herself but also coordinated significant fundraising efforts at her law firm.  

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