The long-awaited declaration of the champions of the Virgin Islands Bar Association’s 29th annual High School Moot Court Competition had a commendable motive behind the delay: the pursuit of more scholarship opportunities for standout participants.
This revelation was made by the organizing committee, who disseminated the results in a press statement this past Monday.
The preliminary district rounds were orchestrated on April 18, 2023. They were staged at the District Court in Golden Rock, St. Croix, and at the Supreme Court premises in Crown Bay, serving the St. Thomas/St. John district. Notably, The Gifft Hill School on St. John reintroduced itself to the competition after a hiatus of several years. The crowning championship round was convened virtually on April 19. The competition saw an impressive turnout with 21 teams from 9 schools, equating to 42 students and an additional 3 alternates. This was a noteworthy increase from the previous year’s 17 teams.
In the St. Thomas/St. John District championship, the Antilles School stood out, led by the dynamic duo of Angeline Nairns and Aisha Khemani. Nairns and Khemani were not only part of the winning team but also clinched the Best Oralist accolade. Following them was the proficient team from Charlotte Amalie High School, comprised of Shayne`e Cherival and Kemiah Solomon. Sts. Peter & Paul’s pair, Pierre Joseph and Ethan Farrell, rounded off the top three.
Meanwhile, in St. Croix, Good Hope Country Day School showcased excellence. The team, spearheaded by Tsehai Alfred and Wyatt Bracy, won the championship. Bry’Nice Berley and Una Alexander from St. Croix Central secured second place, while the third slot went to Alani Arnold and Keanna Alphonse from the St. Croix Educational Complex. It’s also worth noting that Bry’Nice Berley was celebrated as the Best Oralist for the St. Croix District.
The championship round was a stringent selection, trimming the participating teams from 21 to the stellar 12, which included the top six contenders from both districts. Originally, each district had set aside $5,000 in scholarships, divided among the top-performing oralists and teams. During the championship, Good Hope Country Day School was the crowned victor, followed by St. Croix Seventh-Day Adventist School, and with Antilles School occupying the third slot.
However, an anomaly was observed post the scholarship award distribution. Some students who had showcased exemplary performance in the district-level competitions left the championship without any accolades. Gregory Thorp, St. Thomas Chair, voiced the Moot Court Planning Committee’s collective sentiment. They believed that students achieving medals at the district level merited scholarships. This led the committee to propose an increment of $10,000 to the already allocated $7,500 in awards to the Board of Governors. After months of deliberation, this proposal was approved, thus explaining the postponement in announcing the final standings.
The supplementary scholarship fund was then equitably split between the two districts.