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### Clifton High School Wins Top Spot in New Jersey Mock Trial Competition

The decision has been made: Clifton High School’s team of eight members emerged victorious in the 2023-24 mock trial competition organized by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.

Commencing with 215 teams and over 3,400 student participants, the annual Vincent J. Apruzzese High School Mock Trial Competition culminated in Clifton’s triumph over all contenders.

In the final stages, only two teams remained: Clifton and Mainland Regional High School of Atlantic County. Following a rigorous mock trial between the finalists, the ruling favored Clifton, as adjudicated by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Marilyn C. Clark, a retired presiding judge from the criminal division in Passaic County.

Guided by adviser Harry Van Der Hey, Clifton’s team achieved a historic milestone as the first Passaic County school, whether public or private, to secure victory in the state mock trial competition spanning over 40 years.

Superintendent Danny Robertozzi expressed pride in the team’s accomplishment, attributing their success to unwavering dedication, perseverance, and the exceptional mentorship provided by their adviser and mentors.

The journey to victory was arduous, with the team overcoming formidable opponents in the sectional playoffs. They emerged triumphant in the Passaic County Championship against Passaic County Technical Institute, followed by victories over Livingston in the Northern Region semifinal and Park Ridge in the divisional final, ultimately clinching the title of Northern Region champions and earning a spot in the state final.

In preparation for the competition, the Clifton team honed their skills by participating in related events, notably securing first place in the Yale Bulldog Invitational in September 2023. At Yale, team members Jenna Alnatur and Omar Ali were recognized with the Best Attorney and Best Witness Awards, respectively.

Looking ahead, the journey continues for Clifton High School’s Mock Trial Team. The upcoming challenge involves the 2024 National Championship hosted by the Delaware Law Related Education Center in Wilmington from May 2 to 4.

A victory at the national level would mark Clifton as the third champion from New Jersey in the competition’s 40-year history, following the footsteps of Bergen Catholic in 1991 and Cherry Hill East in 1998, with Montclair High School securing second place in 2001.