Mock Trial 2012: One point in six hundred and eighty

March 24, 2012

Mock Trial Senior "A" Team and Advisors

That was the difference in the state mock trial quarter final, Wednesday March 21, 2012.

We enjoyed a tense, tight contest, described by the presiding judge as “the very best trial this year” that he had seen in the competition, “nearly perfect” from both sides. Our contest was by far the highest scoring of the quarter final round, and was certainly worthy of being the state final itself. Our team scored the highest points total by any City Academy team in the three years that we have competed at state and national level. Halley Bruno and Ashley Kennedy were told by the judges that each deserved a higher score than the maximum allowed.

We split the three judges, all three by a margin of only one point. The deciding ballot came down for Woods Cross, by the narrowest margin possible. Such was the draw, and this is a subjective contest, however much we wish we could yell “goal” when we outshine the opposition.

So when you next see Nancy, Ariena, Walker, Marc, Nikole, Halley, Ashley and Alsatia, feel welcome to give them kudos. They are hardly losers! They are outstanding ambassadors for the very best that City Academy can demonstrate. There was a magic tonight that left us all thrilled and reeling, including a brilliantly improvised team adjustment, in which one member sacrificed individual glory for the good of the team.

We got this year to this level needing to coach up no fewer than six (of eight on the team) first timers to competition. This team’s seeding gave them a most brutal draw. [Ask the students how stunned were the coaches of perennial giant Davis High that we knocked them out in the very first round!] The future is therefore bright. And we build this program deep: we have blooded competitors advancing in every grade in the school. More than 1/8th of the school competed in the state mock trial competition this year. Our senior ‘B’ team (all but one of which were mere 10th graders) ranks as the third best team in the state that did not make the quarter finals. We have shown that our school of 200 consistently can compete with the very best of school after school of 2000+.

Thanks for all your support of these students. They have done us proud. I have appreciated the collaboration in certain subjects to sustain and elevate their academic progress.

Thank you to Gareth Orr for providing the text for this post.

Winter Sports Program: Students Enjoy Winter Skiing Trip

March 24, 2012

City Academy Yurt Trip March 17-19, 2012

Recently a group of students who participated in the Winter Sports Program at City Academy experienced a once in a life time experience with our partner agency SPLORE.  Nine City Academy students traveled three miles into the Uinta Mountains on back country skis for two nights in a remote yurt. The trip was a culmination the skills and knowledge gained throughout the Winter Sports Program, including assessing and mitigating avalanche safety and snow conditions, adequate preparation for remote back country skiing, cross-country  skiing and downhill skiing skills and a general overall healthy respect and appreciation for the the natural resources available here in Utah.

Each student carried their own gear and skied three miles into the Yurt on Saturday morning. This five hour journey was rewarded with a fabulous yurt in a spectacular location over looking a large meadow in the eastern Uintas. Each student was delegated the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, getting water or providing hilarious entertainment for the night. Filled with enthusiasm and nervous excitement, the students settled eventually down for the night while the cloud cover filled the sky and snow began falling filling the barren landscape with a blanket of white luscious powder. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap: CA Flag Football

November 25, 2011

City Academy Flag Football 2011

City Academy recently completed its first flag football season, competing in the Utah Small School Alliance (USSA) flag football league. Teams from John Locke Academy, Legacy Preparatory Academy, Heritage School, Provo Canyon, Telos, and others, were in the league.

City Academy finished the regular season at 1-6, and were eliminated in the first round of the USSA Championships. The overall 1-7 record does not reflect how close several of the games were, as the team went through a streak in the middle of the season where it lost three consecutive games by a total of three points.

“I’m really proud of these kids,” says coach Scott MacMurdo. “Of the 13 players on the roster, very few of them had ever played organized football. They came to practices and worked hard, learning the game from a very basic level and learning what it means to be a part of a team. They were also great ambassadors for City Academy,” Coach MacMurdo continues, “as the referees approached me after almost every game to tell me what a class act these kids were on the field and to tell me how much they had improved as the season went along.”

The 2011 City Academy Dragons Flag Football team roster:

Tyler Schirm – Senior
Walker Candelaria – Senior
Samantha Nelson – Senior
Morgan Godfrey – Senior
Gabe Cassett – Junior
Alec Emery – Junior
Robbie Nelson – Sophomore
Marcus Poulos – Sophomore
Lyman Wayman – Freshman
Jeremy Rosser – Freshman
Troy Navanick – Freshman
Isaac Vuong – Freshman
Ray Young – 8th grade

Post content provided by Coach Scott MacMurdo.  Photos provided by Teri Nelson.

City Academy students: It’s easy and fun being green

June 4, 2011

(reprinted from the Salt Lake Tribune, Thursday, June 2, 2011 – “Close-Up” Section)

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) City Academy students Lorna Fullmer, Phoebe Stokes, Shivone McMullin, Nikole Pruess and Alex Martinson hold a giant check the school won as part of the Green School Challenge.

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published May 31 2011 12:45PM
Updated Jun 1, 2011 04:59PM
They’re green, but they want to be greener.

Students at City Academy in Salt Lake City have been recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious schools in the nation.

Among other things, students grow organic vegetables. They built a small greenhouse and distribute plant starts to the community at a very modest price.

Students also started a beehive to help pollinate fruit trees on campus and to help grow the bee population. And they make bio-diesel from used vegetable oil for their school bus, dubbed the “Grease Bus.”

Recently the public charter school, which includes grades 8 through 12, was named one of five winners in the nationwide “Green Your School Challenge” sponsored by Hewlett Parkard and

The prize: $1,000 for their next green project.

City Academy, 555 E. 200 South, was founded 12 years ago and has an enrollment of about 200, said spokeswoman Susan Webster. It’s a publicly funded preparatory school and like any public school, does not charge tuition.

The students say they thrive on the small class sizes and individual attention at City Academy, along with a rigorous curriculum.
Nikole Pruess, 15, is a ninth-grader who takes a lot of interest in the school’s bees. This fall, Pruess and her classmates hope they will be able to harvest the hive’s honey.

“We want to educate the public about bees,” she said. “Without bees, you wouldn’t have the food you ate an hour ago.”

Pruess said the small size of the academy makes the learning experience personal. “You can actually communicate with the teachers here,” she said.

Ninth-grader Phoebe Stokes, 15, explained how the school’s bio-diesel program collects vegetable oil from restaurants in order to refine clean-burning fuel for the Grease Bus.

“We’re recycling and we aren’t adding to the pollutants,” she said.

Alex Martinson, a 16-year-old sophomore, said the school’s green projects have opened his eyes to making a difference on an individual basis.

“I’ve picked up recycling a lot more since I’ve been at this school. And we’re starting a vegetable garden at home,” he said. “This school has helped me with academics and everything.”

City Academy wins award for Green Your School Challenge

May 15, 2011

City Academy: Making a Difference

May 13, 2011

City Academy Charter School represents Utah at National High School Mock Trial Competition

May 8, 2011

Reprinted from Utah Public ~ The Official Blog of the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah State Office of Education

By Elizabeth Ziegler, on May 6th, 2011

This guest post was submitted by City Academy Charter School, a public charter in Salt Lake City.

An Unexpected Invitation

On March 23, City Academy Charter School competed against Alpine School District’s Mountain View High School from Orem, Utah, at the Utah Court of Appeals for the 2011 State Mock Trial

City Academy's 2011 Mock Trial Team

Championships. Although Mountain View won this year’s title they are unable to attend the National Championships this week in Phoenix, Arizona. As a result, the City Academy Mock Trial team of eight students and their teacher, Mr. Gareth Orr, have accepted the honor of representing Utah in their place. The City Academy team has worked hard and is prepared and eager to take to the national “Mock Trial stage.”

Susan Webster, City Academy’s Communications Director, says this is more than just a story about eight talented and lucky students from a small Salt Lake City charter school.

“This is no doubt a great honor for these students,” she says. “But this is also a wonderful example for teachers and parents about the power of hard work and the merit of Mock Trial as a teaching tool.”

Mock Trial is an Exceptional Teaching Tool

A school’s mission is to promote and advance learning. For high schools in particular, our job is to prepare each student with the knowledge and cognitive skills to support further learning and careers. City Academy was founded with the mission to provide academically rigorous curriculum that would prepare each student well for the college and careers of their choice. Mock Trial competition is a natural fit with the types of authentic and civically oriented learning opportunities City Academy is committed to providing for its students.

Participation in Mock Trial requires students to research and intellectually engage with important current topics that are selected for Mock Trial cases. For example, this year it was a cyber-harassment case for the state of Utah. And for the national competition, it was a civil case concerning the competing rights of indigenous peoples to use and enjoy their lands without interference, and those of the owners and operators of uranium mines who depend on mining to provide income, jobs and reasonably-priced nuclear energy. Mock Trial team members must be able to develop and draw on deep understandings of the issues of the case in order to “think on their feet” as they listen to arguments from the other side and quickly find meaningful approaches that will best defend and extend their own case.

Mock Trial is a Good Fit with Utah’s New Common Core State Standards

Read the rest of this entry »


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