Tag Archives: ITA

The Mock Trial Turned Muse: Students Tackle Cyberbullying and Discover New Law Careers

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Attorney Heidi Dudderar (left) advises the ITA defense team from Phineas Banning High School during ITEP’s 2nd Annual Law Day.

15 students from Phineas Banning High School’s International Trade Academy (ITA) received a day-long crash course in the U.S. judicial system and explored various careers in the legal profession during ITEP’s 2nd Annual Law Day.  From the comfort of the 14th floor of the Keesal Young and Logan, our young attorneys-for-the-day fiercely debated the legal ramifications of cyberbullying in the case of Billings vs. Pearson.

“There are so many things that can be argued in a case,” said Carlos. The ITA junior spoke shyly, but with new confidence and curiosity about the legal process.

His fictional client, Cathy Jean Pearson (Aka “the bully”), was free to go—the verdict came back as a hung jury.

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ITA students step into the Keesal Young and Logan library to discuss case notes and prepare for cross examinations.

Minutes prior, we had observed Carlos, writing feverishly on his notepad as the plaintiff and defense team participated in direct and cross-examination. The intensity of hands-on learning had momentarily stripped away his shyness.

On the plaintiff’s side, things were a bit somber. The team was not able to secure a win for their client, but they did gain valuable experience making persuasive arguments. They also set the bar higher for next year, noting they wanted to try a criminal case and use props – a robe and gavel for the acting judge. The 2014 Law Day was in the works, and all the adults in the room smiled approvingly.

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The firm’s dining hall transforms into a courtroom for ITEP’s 2013 Law Day.

“It was a lot of fun today – I liked it,” said Sam, another ITA junior who testified as a witness for the plaintiff’s side. However, he made a confession to us before boarding his bus. “I was looking forward to arguing, but I was a witness… I like arguing… I wanted to prove my point.”  Next year, Sam!

Everyone played a role in the mock trial, from court reporter to case witness to attorney, and after all the “scary” parts (talking, presenting and cross examinations) were over, students exchanged constructive criticism and a shared few laughs with the real-life attorneys, their teachers for the day.

“…They are expected to pick up a process and a way of thinking that attorneys work on their entire life, and they’re expected to do it in six hours, and many of them wow me every single time because they just do it! It’s amazing,” said Jennifer Meeker, ITA advisory board member and attorney for Nossaman.

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ITA students discuss mock trial details while the jury deliberates.

If a mock trial during a Saturday can engage a young mind and awaken a student’s full potential, imagine what other elements are left to be uncovered? Even if we just skimmed the surface of future dream careers, the results are nothing short of inspirational.

“I learned how much work lawyers have to do. It’s a lot of work… but having the experience today, it made me actually consider a future in law – it’s interesting,” said Carlos.

“My dream is to go to USC – that’d be a dream.” The junior also spoke about his interest in civil engineering and architecture.

Encouraging Carlos to dream big is the key to ensuring a bright future –both his own and that of his community.  Giving Carlos and his classmates the opportunity to explore their dreams through hands-on experiences such as Law Day is ITEP’s mission and our daily delight.

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Our hard-working team! Left to right: Attorney Heidi Dudderar, Attorney Jennifer Meeker from Nossaman LLP, Attorney Lisa Barnett from A. Lavar Tayor Law Offices and Susie Emami, ITEP Program Manager.

We are extremely grateful for the guidance and support of Jennifer Meeker from Nossaman LLP, Lisa Barnett from A. Lavar Tayor Law Offices and Heidi Dudderar. Thank you, ladies! You made the 2nd Annual ITEP Law Day special and successful. We’d also like to recognize our gracious host, Keesal Young and Logan for lending their offices, staff and catering services. 

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Filed under Banning High School, ITA

API scores are up!

ITEP congratulates all five high schools  we work with on increasing their API Scores! The Academic Performance Index is an achievement gauge for California public schools based on standardized test results. Carson High School alone improved their score by 37 points for an official API score of 689, the highest score among LAUSD South Bay High Schools! Way to go, Colts! This great achievement is a product of the successful community partnerships among the schools, ITEP, and its industry volunteers.  Together, we are helping our young people think globally and earn locally. Our students rock!

Carson High School API Score for 2012 – 689 (Improvement of 37 over last year’s score 652)

Banning High School API Score for 2012 – 682 (Improvement of 23 over last year’s score 659)

Barstow High School API Score for 2012 – 696 (Improvement of 22 over last year’s score 674)

San Pedro High School API Score for 2012 – 716 (Improvement of 5 over last year’s score 711)

Gardena High School  API Score for 2012 – 633 (Improvement of 15 over last year’s score 61)

“I would like to express my gratitude to ITEP for their support throughout the years at Banning High School and Gardena High School. The support that you give students in the Small Learning Communities through  Community Advisory Boards, career presentations, summer internships, team building activities, and student recognition are the reasons our students stay on task to graduate. The partnership established with ITEP has allowed the resources to create an environment that is personable and nurturing. It is an experience that all students involved in an ITEP Academy will remember for a lifetime. The students that have benefited from the ITEP Academies are making positive contributions in the PORT because of your organization. We salute you, and thank you as we move into yet another exciting year of partnership.” -Rudy  J. Mendoza Principal, Phineas Banning High School

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Filed under Banning High School, Barstow High School, Carson High School, Gardena High School, GBAC, GESA, GGLA, GSS, ITA, MATCH, Mojave XP, San Pedro High School, SPEA

ITA and GGLA “Apprentices” Practice Their Pitches

Dressed for success and ready to compete, sixteen upperclassman from Gardena High School’s Global Leadership Academy (GGLA) and Banning High School’s International Trade Academy (ITA) were picked up from school in stretch limousines and whisked downtown to the 26th floor boardroom of the U.S. offices of Lloyds Banking Group, where they squared off in an “Apprentice”-style case competition between Team Disney and Team Apple. The prize was something that even The Donald would agree is invaluable: the skills and self-confidence to pitch a company today…and themselves tomorrow.

Channeling the energy already present in their cross-town football rivalry, Banning and Gardena students battled in the boardroom to prove their business prowess. Each team had been assigned to research either Disney, Apple, or McDonalds and identify the unique selling points (USP’s) for each company. The team with the strongest argument would be chosen as the winner. After being assigned a company, each team worked swiftly to put together a convincing presentation.

Under the careful eyes of Rob Vickery, North America Regional Director for Lloyds TSB International (GGLA Advisory Board member) and Akary Busto, Vice President of Corporate Account management (ITA Advisory Board member), students crafted their selling points to create a persuasive pitch. The aim was to let students take the lead to bolster confidence within the group. “I want to reach those kids at the back of the class that have potential but are too afraid to speak up” said Rob.

Although the competition was intense, the “apprentices” quickly developed a mutual respect for one other and even took the opportunity to do a little networking. By the time the limos pulled up to take them back to campus, everyone agreed that they were all winners. So did the judges, who declared both teams equally deserving of victory.

ITEP is extremely grateful to Rob Vickery, Akary Busto and Lloyds Banking Group for offering our students this phenomenal experience to push themselves to compete and to succeed. “This learning experience has been like no other. I enjoyed communicating with the Gardena students and learning about Lloyds Banking Group,” remarked ITA junior Diana. Thank you Lloyds in helping our students on their journeys!

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Filed under Banning High School, Gardena High School, GGLA, ITA

The Titanic Resurrected: ITA Law Day 2012

The Titanic Resurrected

By Jose Sanchez & Erika Vega ITA Class of 2014

On a bright and early Saturday morning, 27 ITA students resurrected the Titanic at the offices of Keesal Young and Logan for Law Day 2012. ITA Advisory Board member Jennifer Meeker, Nossaman LLP, along with Lisa Barnett, RJS Law, and Samira Seidu with the San Diego District Attorney, led the students through a case preparation and trial. ITA juniors and seniors gave up their Saturday to participate in this exercise and Ms. Seidu took notice: “The fact that these students showed up on a Saturday morning and presented a jury trial that same afternoon was truly impressive.”

In the trial of Estate of Hans Jensen v. The White Star Line, each student was assigned a different role and the morning session was devoted to getting prepared. The students were separated into the following groups: Defendants, Plaintiffs, Witnesses, Juries, and Reporters. Ms. Meeker played the judge. Both the defendants and the plaintiffs worked in small groups with Ms. Meeker and Ms. Seidu to come up with a clear case that they would use in court. The plaintiffs gave their opening statement “The Titanic’s Captain WAS responsible for Jensen dying!” while the defendants strongly disagreed and argued that the “Titanic’s Captain was NOT responsible for Jensen’s death.” ITA senior Bryan Tahuite gave this advice: “stick to the words and never give up.”

The room was quiet and very intense while the plaintiffs and the defendants bravely stated their arguments. The jury remained alert, sustained focus and respectfully gave their full attention to both parties. With the help of Ms. Barnett, the jury of 10 deliberated while everyone waited patiently for the results. After what seemed like forever, the jury came to their conclusion: “White Star Line is NOT responsible for the death of Jensen.” The defendants won for having a stronger case!

After the trial was over, students had the chance to ask the three attorneys questions about practicing law. While they learned about different fields and different career opportunities in law, they also learned that you cannot chew gum in a court room and were told that a person was once charged $500 because their cell phone rang during a trial.

All three attorneys were thoroughly impressed by the students. “I was impressed with how hard-working and engaged the students were in the legal system.  I look forward to participating again next year! said Ms. Barnett. Jennifer Meeker was impressed with their hard work and professionalism.”I have served on the ITA Board for over a year now and the students wow me each time I meet them. They were professional, engaged, and hard-working. I would welcome the opportunity to work with each and every one of these students in the future.”  ITA showed a lot of potential and Ms. Seidu encouraged the students to pursue careers in law. “I hope these students choose to pursue legal careers because the profession would be lucky to have them.”   

The students had a lot of fun and learned a lot through the process. They learned how to trust their teammates and how to work together. ITA would like to thank Jennifer Meeker for putting this event together, and with the help of Lisa Barnett and Samira Seidu, teaching us about the field of law, and giving us a chance to resurrect the Titanic.

In advance, students were assigned different roles to prepare for the trial. ITA Juniors Jose Sanchez and Erika Vega were assigned to be Court Reporters. Throughout the trial, Jose and Erika jotted down notes, interviewed participants and took photos. above is the article they co-authored commemorating the 1st Annual ITA Law Day.

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Lisa Barnett is a senior associate with RJS Law located in San Diego, which specializes in resolving civil and criminal tax controversies with the IRS and California state tax agencies.  RJS Law has significant prominence within the San Diego community through established relationships with current and former clients as well as an established track record of success dealing with federal and state government officials.  Ms. Barnett also volunteers her time as Treasurer and Board Member of the Jarrett Meeker Foundation.

Jennifer Meeker is a litigation associate with the law firm Nossaman LLP, which is an all-service national law firm with 150 professionals working seamlessly within California and across the United States.  The Firm has a history of serving clients in the Port area including the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, the City of Long Beach, Valero and Tesoro, and worked extensively on the Alameda Corridor Project in addition to other projects.  Ms. Meeker serves on the board of the Jarrett Meeker Foundation and on the International Trade Academy advisory board. Ms. Meeker organized the Law Day, prepared the mock trial based on a wrongful death suit arising out of the sinking of the Titanic, helped the defense team prepare its case and acted as judge. 

Samira Seidu is a deputy district attorney with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office where she prosecutes domestic violence cases.  In addition, Ms. Seidu is a board member of the Jarrett Meeker Foundation and also coaches a  San Diego area high school mock trial team.

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Filed under Banning High School, ITA

ITA students build towers tall and soar spirits high


On Friday, October 7, over 140  juniors and seniors, along with teachers and ITEP business partners from the International Trade Academy (ITA) at Phineas Banning High School welcomed incoming sophomores with the challenge of building the tallest tower and the call to take responsibility for their own academic and career success at the very first ITA “Earning The Right” Conference.

Traditionally, this event has been an informal party; however, this year, ITA Lead Teacher Leticia Finley and ITA Advisory Board Member Akary Busto of Lloyds TSB International traded the cake and karaoke for an afternoon of team-building activities, motivational presentations, and networking with alumni and board members.  The overall theme of the Conference was that students cannot sit back and expect things to be given to them, but must work actively to “earn the right” to partake in the many opportunities available through ITA.

The highlight of the Conference was Business Keynote Speaker, Rob Vickery, who shared his own career journey from an economically challenged upbringing in Cornwall, England to his current role as U.S. Director at Lloyds TSB International.  Vickery described both his successes and his failures along the way and challenged the students to embrace adversity and never take no for an answer. “No mission is mission impossible.”

Among the most powerful experiences available to ITA students is the opportunity for seniors to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) in Washington, D.C.   For 11 years, Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals (PST) has generously sponsored this program, enabling hundreds of ITA students to experience a world far beyond Wilmington.  Nancy Perez, alumna from the Class of 2011, presented David VanWaardenburg and Peggy Barteske of Pasha with the Above and Beyond Award in recognition of their generous and continued support.

After enjoying a delicious lunch prepared by the MATCH Academy and served by ITA alumni, students and ITEP Advisory Board members participated in a team-building exercise.  Each team was given a bag of supplies with the goal of making the tallest tower out of cups and paper. But, there was a twist:  each group received a slightly different set of building supplies.  ITA teacher Marlene Mendez facilitated the discussion afterwards. “…the point was to challenge them to work with what they had.  Life isn’t fair… it’s about working with the tools you are given… it’s not about a competition, it’s about working together” said Mendez.

Attending the event as honored guests were ITEP business partners from the Port of Los Angeles, Conoco Phillips, U.S. Department of Transportation, Fast Lane Transportation, Los Angeles Harbor College, and Lloyds TSB International.  Students also had the opportunity to visit booths and speak with representatives from the United States Coast Guard, Los Angeles Harbor College, Cal State Dominguez Hills and USC.

ITEP would like to thank Rob Vickery, not only for his inspirational remarks, but also for Lloyds’ generous sponsorship, which made possible the delicious food and delightful décor.  Many thanks as well to Leticia Finley, Akary Busto, and the ITA student leaders who put together a phenomenal event that will set the tone for the rest of the Academy experience.

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Filed under Banning High School, ITA

This ITEP Program Isn’t Just A Summer Job, It’s About Self Development…

They may be young, but don’t call them kids.  Or children, for that matter.  According to Martin Chavez, Human Resources Division Officer for the Port of Los Angeles and Director of the 2011 ITEP/POLA Summer Internship Program, the fifty-four young men and women participating this year should be called students and held to this standard in terms of seeking knowledge and personal responsibility.  “A kid is a baby goat…something less than human and not deserving of our respect or investment. Our students need to see themselves as worthy.”  Chavez helps his students achieve this goal by constantly holding them to the highest standards and employing a “tough love” approach.  The result has been 12 years of successfully helping students realize their potential and learn to take pride in themselves, while acquiring hands-on work experience. “This program isn’t just a summer job, it’s about self development” said Chavez.

Since its launch in 2001, the ITEP/POLA Internship Program has grown from 15 companies and 15 International Trade Academy (ITA) students to this year’s class of 54, which includes participants from all four ITEP Academies at Banning High School.  This year 35 companies and organizations are participating. In addition to the Port of Los Angeles, which alone takes 14 interns in nine of its departments, other selected maritime industry employers include ACTA, APL, Cal Cartage, SA Recycling, Moffatt & Nichol, U.S. Coast Guard, and Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals.  For the first time this year, the Program will welcome three Global Business Academy (GBA) interns from Carson High School to participate in the Friday workshops.

An exciting development this year is the addition of Gabriela Perez as the new Intern Coordinator.  Perez will take over for Cynthia Jaime who set the bar in terms of program implementation and became a fixture among the Banning students. In her final year at UCLA, Gabriela is a product of the ITEP/POLA Internship Program. In 2006 she interned in POLA’s Financial Management division. Chavez noted, “I always hoped to close the loop, see a student complete the program, attend college, and  give back to the program.”  Over the past four years at the annual Internship Culmination Ceremony, students have given their heartfelt thanks to Jaime’s dedication and commitment to ensuring their success in completing the program. Soon Gabriela Perez will be receiving her own kudos from students.

Working alongside Chavez and Perez this year is Eli Romero, Program Specialist in the Youth Opportunity Center of the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.  Eli has done a phenomenal job in recruiting employers for the program, as well as assisting students to be successful in their internships.

ITEP thanks everyone who has helped make this program successful, including the 35 employers who are hosting our interns. Chavez notes, “We can’t turn students around in two months, but we can give them a whole lot of ideas to turn themselves around. Hopefully every student learns something and carries it with them.

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Filed under Banning High School, GESA, GSS, ITA, MATCH

Congrats Class of 2011 and welcome to the ITEP Alumni Family!

Congratulations to all our 2011 grads.  We have grads from Banning High School from as far back as 2002! That’s about 1,500 graduates! Now we welcome the first ITEP seniors to graduate from our San Pedro, Carson, and Barstow Academies!

San Pedro High School – San Pedro, CA

Earth Alert Academy (Earth Alert)
capacity: 500 students
Earth Alert engages students to be aware of both local and global environmental issues that affect their daily lives. By infusing classroom curriculum with speaker series and industry programs and activities, Earth Alert encourages students to think critically about environmental issues. Academy students are connected to passionate leaders in environmentally themed companies and are given both educational and professional opportunities to serve their communities.

Carson High School – Carson, CA

Global Business Academy (GBA)
capacity: 75 students
GBA was launched for the 2008-09 school year, modeled after best practices and programs developed at ITEP’s academies. Currently GBA offers a variety of activities such as teamwork/leadership building field trips such as TopSail, speaker series with industry leaders, curriculum enrichment activities such as the International Economic Summit and an internship program through the City of Carson.


Barstow High School – Barstow, CA

Mojave XP Logistics Academy (Mojave XP)
capacity: 75 students
From 2007, ITEP has worked with Barstow’s community leaders, activists, board of education administrators, Barstow College, and school officials to develop Barstow’s first logistics academy. Situated along Southern California’s main trade route, the city of Barstow offers strong professional and educational opportunities for high school graduates. Mojave XP strives to not only improve graduation rates and grades, but also to improve student attitudes and academic culture.


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Filed under Banning High School, Barstow High School, Carson High School, GBAC, GESA, GSS, ITA, MATCH, Mojave XP, San Pedro High School, SPEA