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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

CTE Center Mock Trial team takes 2nd in state

At+the+State+Mock+Trial+Competition%2C+the+CTE+Centers+Competitive+team+came+in+second+for+the+third+year+in+a+row.+Junior+Christine+Han+has+been+a+member+for+three+years%2C+and+senior+Maya+Silberman+took+home+the+Best+Advocate+Award+at+the+competition.
Maya Silberman
At the State Mock Trial Competition, the CTE Center’s Competitive team came in second for the third year in a row. Junior Christine Han has been a member for three years, and senior Maya Silberman took home the Best Advocate Award at the competition.

From winning state on the basketball court to the Mock Trial team sweeping all three superlatives at state, Redhawks continue to stay successful in different courts.

The Frisco ISD CTE Mock Trial team competed at the state competition on March 8 and 9 at the George Allen Courthouse in Dallas, and for the third year in a row they came just shy of first place, finishing in second out of 24 teams. 

This year, I was so excited hearing my name called and even getting the nomination, and winning was one of the proudest moments of my life,

— senior Maya Silberman

At state, each team competes in four rounds with three judges scoring with ballots each out. If the team wins all of the ballots or two out of three ballots, they win the round. Superlatives and top ten teams are announced after the fourth round. The top four teams advance to the semifinals with two rounds where two teams compete. The winners of each round advance to the finals.

For the first time in district history, the Frisco ISD team won all of the superlatives: Best Advocate, Best Witness, and the Judy Yarborough Professionalism Award.

“I think we’re developing a legacy that attracts good talent and kids who really want to work hard and win,” Frisco ISD CTE Mock Trial Team Attorney Advisor Ernest Leonard said. “Hard work, dedication, talent, intelligence, we’ve got a lot of that. Among the team itself, you’ve got to have three strong witnesses, but you’ve got to have three strong attorneys, but you’ve got to have very strong witnesses, without strong witnesses, you’re not going to go anywhere.”

The team is composed of students from across the district, with two being from Liberty: team captain and Lead Attorney, senior Maya Silberman and junior Christine Han.

At the competition, Silberman was awarded the Stephen W. Gwinn Award for Best Attorney in the State. 

“This year, I was so excited hearing my name called and even getting the nomination, and winning was one of the proudest moments of my life,” Silberman said. “It would not have been possible without our team, especially my co-counsel who uplifted me, worked with me on my content, and helped me feel confident. It has always been a dream of mine and to get that achievement. I put in so many hours this year and feeling that recognition, and realizing that the work I put in was noticeable and others could see it was really amazing.”

Silberman acknowledges that the coaching throughout the year is what facilitated her and the team’s success.

“None of our success would be possible without Mr. Leonard,” Silberman said. “He puts in so much time with us, meeting on the weekends and afternoons, and has been the greatest mentor I’ve ever had. He believed in all of us this year, and every time I questioned my skill or how we would do, he made sure to uplift me and work with me. I am so thankful that he’s been in my life, and he has created such a strong culture within our team, one of positivity and growth, that has been vital to our success.”

For Han, winning the Judy Yarborough Professionalism Award set the bar for future years.

“I was really surprised because I did not expect our team to win this award,” Han said. “I honestly thought we could’ve been even more professional than we actually were but it felt great either way. It set the bar for next year and how the team should act from here on out.”

The Frisco ISD team is one of four teams that headed to state from Region 10, the most competitive region in the state. 

“First of all, it’s a lot of work outside the courtroom, but also it’s a great team experience,” Heritage High School junior Kishen Sargur said. “You shouldn’t go into Mock Trial with the expectation that it’s going to be you as an individual. I think that Mock Trial is one of the biggest team experiences that I’ve ever seen, so much so that it’s really not about you. It’s all about your team.”

The team is formed through the CTE Center, which has its advantages but also disadvantages according to Reedy High School senior and attorney Gisela Figuerola Riveira.

“We are technically disadvantaged,” Riviera said. “Most of the private schools we go against, they meet almost every day, or every day. And so even though we only meet for two hours on Thursday, we are constantly meeting with our witnesses, we are meeting with our attorneys, we are reading our statements outside of these meetings. I would say a big part of it is like putting that work in even when we’re not in the CTE setting, whether it’s on call, in a library, in a coffee shop, etc.”

Despite being just shy of winning state, Centennial High School senior Esha Bandi believes this means just as much, especially in the state of Texas.

“I think placing second is something to definitely be proud of, especially when you come from a state as large as Texas it’s not easy at all,” Bandi said. “I would say that while there is definitely that sense of pride it’s bittersweet because we were so close to getting to that next level that we’ve been trying to achieve for the past three years, so it does hurt a little. Overall I would just say that I’m really proud that we got that far.” 

I can’t make someone have talent, but I can foster it. And in the past few years, the CTE Mock Trial team has been doing that,

— Frisco ISD CTE Mock Trial Team Attorney Advisor Ernest Leonard

It is a testament shared across the team, that the coaches guidance allowed for the team’s accomplishments. But according to Leonard, he does not give the students the talent, but rather help develop what is already there.

“I feel like a lot of what I do is harness the creativity of the kids,” Leonard said. “I try to get the energy going, and I try to direct it. My coaching philosophy is to encourage the kids to reach in for the gifts and the talents they have and to develop that and foster that. I can’t make someone have talent, but I can foster it. And in the past few years, the CTE Mock Trial team has been doing that.”

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About the Contributors
Haley Ward, Editor-in-Chief
Haley Ward is a senior and in her third year with Wingspan. On campus, she serves as Student Council President, she is on the Varsity cheer team, and she is a member of National Honor Society. She loves spending time with her friends at Younglife, shopping with her mom, and spending time with her family and dog. She aims to be like the journalists from her top movies, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and The Devil Wears Prada! Haley is so excited to be one of the Editor-in-Chiefs this year, and she can’t wait for everything her senior year will bring! Contact Haley: haley.ward.013@k12.friscoisd.org
Maya Silberman, Editor-in-Chief
Maya Silberman is a senior going into her third year on the Wingspan staff. Outside of Wingspan, she is captain of the CTE Mock Trial team and a legal intern through the CTE Center's Practicum in Government Program. In her free time, Maya can be found reading any and everything, playing New York Times games, and spending time with her dog, Luna. Maya couldn't be more excited to be one of the Editor-in-Chiefs this year, and looks forward to what is to come! Contact Maya: Maya.Silberman.055@k12.friscoisd.org

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