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Posted: Friday, March 29, 2002 12:00 am

Porter impresses in mock trial contest

BY CRISELDA VALDEZ

THE BROWNSVILLE HERALD

Nine students at Porter High School are taking the extra steps to fulfill

their dreams of one day becoming lawyers.

The nine women are members of the Porter mock trial team that spent three days

in Dallas earlier this month for the state mock trial competition.

The final results of the competition have not been released, but because the

team won two trials and lost two, and according to last years results,

sponsor Luis Guevara expects the team will place among the top 15 teams.

Porter was the only Brownsville team that advanced to the state level and only

the second team ever from the school to compete at that level.

Of almost 250 students who competed in the state contest, five were chosen as

the top advocators in the state, including Porter senior Azyadee Sosa.

I really wasnt expecting it, she said. But once I was there, I was really

proud.

According to Judy Yarbro, the state coordinator for the Texas High School Mock

Trial Competition, this is the first year the award was given to students.

Although she was singled out at the state level competition, Sosa thinks of

the team first. The all-woman team, the first Guevara has seen and the only

one at the state competition, decided to wear identical outfits and

hairstyles.

It was a team thing, said Cinthya Sosa, a senior. We were all together.

Lisa Lopez, a senior, said many participants at the Dallas competition were

intimidated. The competition judges referred to the team as the pin-stripe

girls for their outfits.

But their outfits were not the only things that impressed officials. They

were stunning. They were so well prepared. Those girls were so bright and

articulate, Yarbro said.

She said she wished the team had placed in the top 10 in the competition, but

that they had placed in the top 10 with their professional appearance and

demeanor.

But while the girls intimidated others with their clothes, the girls

themselves said they felt intimidated by the knowledge of the other teams.

I knew those teams were going to be good, but some of those teams were

great, Sosa said. She said the team would set aside time at the competition

for extra practice.

The girls admitted they learned a lot from the other teams that eventually

made their way into the top 10.

When you participate there, you have the new atmosphere, Lopez said. I

learned a lot of different ways of approaching the case.

Stephanie Garcia said that even though the team practices a certain strategy,

you have to adjust to what is going on.

Senior Lisa Gutierrez said one of the most crucial components of winning a

case is knowing the rules.

Objections are one of the main things (to know), she said. And you have to

know the correct legal responses.

While the girls are disappointed they didnt advance to the national

competition in May in St. Paul, Minn., they take comfort in knowing that the

two teams they lost to made the top 10. One of them will advance to the

national level.

The loss has not deterred the girls resolve to become lawyers.

Were going to take over the legal world, Gutierrez said. All nine team

members, determined looks on the faces, nod in agreement.

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