Dennis Franks, head coach of the St. Cyril Mock Trial team, was named “Attorney Coach of the Year” at the Justice James A. Cobey Honors Reception held at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles last month. A senior vice president for entertainment law for 20th Century Fox, Franks brought the idea of a Mock Trial team to St. Cyril in 2000 while serving as the school board president. His three children were students at the Encino school although, as he joked, “None of them joined the team the first year.” Eventually, his youngest graduated from St. Cyril last year but Franks continued with the program because “I love doing it! I get thrilled at seeing the kids go from shy students to proud, table-pounding lawyers.” For Franks, a graduate of Stanford University who attended law school at USC, one of the perks is “running into former team members who tell me that the skills they learned in mock trial have come in handy in their own college careers.” Co-principal Mike Muir was pleased when he heard Franks would continue as head coach. “Mr. Franks sets the bar high for our kids and under his coaching last year Mock Trial fielded the biggest team ever.” Team member Madelynn Bruno, who won her own award for being an Outstanding Prosecution Witness, Junior Division at last year’s competition, said of her coach, “He’s really fun and he can relate it all to how it really works in a courtroom so he makes it interesting.” Muir believes that Franks succeeds because “he leads by example” and that having a Mock Trial team promotes confidence and builds community among different grades.A St. Cyril’s parishioner, Franks also noted the best thing about coaching is “the chance to bring such a great program to students. They have few other opportunities to how to think on their feet as well as learning how the American justice system works.” The Mock Trial program, sponsored by the non-profit, non-partisan, community-based Constitutional Rights Foundation, serves to teach America's young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/1007/sfcyril/{/gallery}