After advancing to the championship round last year and being stranded in New York by Hurricane Sandy, the Dos Pueblos High School Mock Trial Team has once again been selected to compete in the Empire City World Invitational Mock Trial Tournament to be held in New York City this October.

The tournament, considered the most prestigious high school mock trial invitational tournament, brings 40 teams to the Big Apple from across the country and around the globe — including teams from the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada and Australia.

This year’s tournament will be held Oct. 18-21 at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Brooklyn.

In their first-ever appearance at Empire, last year’s team upset their bracket’s top seed and advanced to the championship round, losing a close match against La Reina High School from Ventura County on the day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York.

La Reina’s team followed their championship at Empire by winning their unprecedented third straight California championship — once again edging Dos Pueblos in a tough first-round matchup. DP’s Madeline Matthys won an individual award as the tournament’s outstanding defense attorney. In addition, Delia Bullock and Ami Thakrar won recognition for outstanding witness portrayal and outstanding clerk respectively.

“The team is over-the-moon excited to be able to compete at Empire again this year,” said team co-captain Camille Wyss, who is a senior trial attorney. “Last year, not only did we have a fantastic time, it was the best competition we had had the opportunity to compete at. The atmosphere of the Empire competition — and New York City — is infectious, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the action again. I can’t think of a better way to start my fourth and final year with the Dos Pueblos Mock Trial Team.

“We have a long road ahead of us in terms of fundraising and preparing, but I am 100 percent confident that all of our work will be worth it when we get to New York and start to compete.”

The team is gearing up for a fundraising campaign to raise the necessary funds to travel to New York City for the tournament. The students will be holding a rummage sale in the Dos Pueblos High School staff parking lot from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27. If you have items you wish to donate, please contact Delia Bullock at

Tax-deductible monetary donations can be made by sending a check payable to DPHS with the notation “Mock Trial” on the memo line c/o faculty advisor Bill Woodard, 7266 Alameda Ave., Goleta, CA 93117, or electronically by clicking here. Contact Woodard at if you would like more information.

The members of the Dos Pueblos Mock Trial Team who will be competing at Empire are Delia Bullock, Madeleine Centrella, Laila Halimi, Alissa Kruidenier, Bela Lafferty, Madeline Matthys, Camille Wyss, Ami Thakrar and Sophia Zheng.

These students will now spend their summer preparing the fictional case of Midlands v. Dawson. In the case, Vanessa Sullivan, daughter of Midlands’ most prominent prosecutor, celebrated her 21st birthday with two friends, Taylor Hopson and Danny Dawson, at Chuggie’s Sports Bar. After several hours of celebration at the bar, the three left in a car driven by Dawson. On the way home, Dawson lost control of the car, resulting in a crash in which Sullivan was killed. A special prosecutor was appointed because of the conflict of interest in having the victim’s parent’s office prosecute the case. A grand jury has returned a multicount indictment charging the defendant, Danny Dawson, with murder and driving under the influence.

In addition to Woodard, the coaching staff includes Joel Block, Scott Campbell, Corinne Dorais and Maureen Grattan.

— Bill Woodard is the assistant principal at Dos Pueblos High School and the faculty adviser for its Mock Trial Team.