Fresh off its first ever Suffolk championship, Huntington High School’s mock trial team is riding high. The Blue Devils closed out their season ranked No. 3 among the eight high schools that qualified for the state finals in Albany, narrowly missing an opportunity to compete for the New York title.
Huntington Principal Brenden Cusack spoke at the mock trial team's awards dinner.
Many of its top performers graduated with Huntington’s Class of 2018, but some outstanding underclassmen will be returning to the fold. The Blue Devils are looking to keep their momentum going and are seeking new members to fill the spots of the departing seniors.
A June team dinner celebrated the season in fine fashion. Blue plaques were presented to the team members by Huntington’s legal advisors, Xavier Palacios and John LoTurco. The Blue Devil squad included Lena Annunziata, Alyssa Befumo, Rory Bocelli, Isabella Floro, Melissa Holland, Joseph Mead, John Panos, Max Robins, Lia Shechter, Riley Tucker, Claudia Villatoro and Ana Diaz.
The awards dinner was also attended by Superintendent James W. Polansky, Principal Brenden Cusack and many parents.
Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky attended the mock trial team's awards dinner.
Mr. Robins and Ms. Befumo both captured the Most Outstanding Litigator Award. Mr. Panos garnered the Most Improved Litigator Award. Ms. Shechter was named Rookie of the Year. Ms. Villatoro claimed the Most Outstanding Defense Witness Award. Ms. Annunziata was named the Most Outstanding Prosecution Witness. Ms. Holland won the award for Most Team Spirit.
Interested in learning more about Huntington’s mock trial program or ready to sign-on as a team member? Send an email message to either Ms. Buchalter or Ms. Biagi to start the ball rolling.
Messrs. Palacios and LoTurco have already committed to continuing to serve as the team’s legal advisors next winter. (Huntington alum Jack Piana, a practicing attorney, also prepared the team for some of its early season matches last winter.)
The district is working toward creating a mock trial courtroom in the high school building. It will serve as the home base for the Blue Devil legal eagles.
Then Huntington High School senior Justin LoTurco founded Huntington’s mock trial team during the 2014/15 school year. The team’s first victory came in February 2015 when it toppled Mattituck. The Blue Devils have enjoyed remarkable success since then, culminating in this year’s county championship. Mr. LoTurco also continues to be successful in his own right. The Huntington alum is entering his senior year at Duke University. He’s interning with Goldman Sachs this summer in Manhattan.