Tag Archives: Susie Emami

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

The UK Comes to LA with British Consulate’s Visit to Gardena High School

On May 1st, over 25 students from Gardena’s Global Leadership Academy (GGLA) ventured across the pond  to the United Kingdom from the comfort of their third period Government class.

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GGLA Advisory Board Chair and Director at BNY Mellon, Rob Vickery, shares UK fun facts with students.

The UK came to GLA in the form of a special visit by Ying Yee, Deputy Consul-General for the British Consulate in LA. With the help of GGLA Advisory Board Chair, Rob Vickery, who is also the Director of Wealth Management at BNY Mellon, our high-profile visitor immersed GGLA  into the UK culture and an introduction to international careers. Students learned about the role of the British Consulate in Los Angeles and throughout the world, and the importance of learning emerging languages like Mandarin and Spanish.

Did you know that over 300 languages are spoken in Great Britain?

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Ying Yee, Deputy Consul-General for the British Consulate in LA talks about the Foreign Service and international careers.

Gardena High School students played both tourists and hosts. In the days leading to Ms. Yee’s presentation, students prepared for the private group discussion by organizing marketing pitches for Great Britain and learning the basics of global economics. Now the time had come to present, and despite a few ‘ums’ and shaky voices, you couldn’t help but feel proud of our young people, representing their school to their global visitor wearing bow ties and business skirts.

A temporary escape from the ordinary classroom laid the foundation for a global perspective.

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Two Gardena High School students present to their special guest and classmates. Subjects covered by students ranged from the life of Winston Churchill to the UK Legislative Branch.

“I think one thing I learned is that by making connections now, they always lead to other connections later down the path… The future looks bright,” said Cameron, student presenter and Gardena High School senior.

“I want to go into bio-engineering,” added Cameron. The tall, JROTC officer said this proudly, but now had a global view of the job. “… Maybe helping out a different country’s government in terms of science, policies – helping their people get what they need. I feel as though that would be a very good field for me.”

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Cameron, JORTC cadet and Gardena High School student, talks with Ms. Yee and GGLA support staff.

Then there was Helen, who was contemplating the medical field. Ms. Yee’s speech on international careers and the Foreign Service seemed to come at a fitting time. As a senior, she was captivated by the promise of travel and assistance to other individuals, possibly through a future role in an embassy.

“…It really opened my eyes to a whole new different world that I wasn’t aware of… It actually made me change my mind on what I want to do… I like helping people… and I always thought a way to help a person was through the medical field. Now I’m thinking of psychology or religious studies to learn about other cultures,” said Helen.

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Gardena High School students network with Ms. Yee after her presentation.

An imaginary trip of sorts was the beginning of something bigger.

“I’m really glad my classmates got involved, and I thought it was a privilege, so thank you,” said Helen with a bubbly smile.

ITEP students are natural-born explorers and travelers.

Help us build the next set of global citizens and scholars. Visit the ITEP website to see how you can get involved. 

For event photos, visit the ITEP Facebook Page.

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LA Convention Center rolls out the red carpet for MATCH

On Friday, March 16 the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) rolled out their red carpet for 23 MATCH seniors from Banning High School for a behind-the-scenes look in to the world of trade show operations. The students received exclusive backstage tours and were treated to a board room presentation from top LACC executives who spoke about careers and all the industry has to offer.

The students were able to get a feel for the preparation and hard work it takes to put on a trade show as they watched the Food & Beverage division preparing culinary delights for the International Health and Sports Racket Expo. After the tour, the students listened to a presentation from Mary Jane Aquino, Acting Assistant General Manager for LACC, Phillip Hill, COO, Greg Rosicky, Vice President of Event Operations, and Reza Semadi, General Manager of Food Services and enjoyed a salty sweat treat: chips and fresh mango salsa courtesy of Executive Chef Lewis.

The hot topic among the students was job opportunities and COO Phillip Hill didn’t disappoint them. He explained that the new project, Farmer’s Field, would create a large demand for jobs and Reza Samadi introduced the student to Aramark’s internship program. Both drove home the importance of finishing school so they could be considered for prime opportunities.

The MATCH students made a huge impact on the LACC professionals who facilitated the tour and took pride in knowing one day they’d be able to bring their exceptional culinary skills to the Convention Center. Greg Rosicky, remarked, “this is the best group of students we have ever had.” Thank you to the LA Convention Center, and everyone who was involved in making this tour possible, it was an amazing experience for our students!

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Filed under Banning High School, MATCH

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

MATCH welcomes students with food, fun, and FHA!

MATCH Alumni returned to their roots to support incoming sophomores during the MATCH Welcome Banquet last Thursday hosted by MATCH Academy seniors. Richard Tucker, 2011 summer intern for Friendship Transport, Inc., and Evelin Cortez, 2011 summer intern for Tesoro, emceed the Banquet. The incoming sophomores received a great introduction to MATCH’s award-winning program and the business leaders from companies including the Port of Los Angeles, International Cargo Equipment, PCC Logistics, and Good Source Solutions, who work diligently to support them.

New this year, board members attended a private mixer before the Banquet for an opportunity to speak with MATCH faculty about their challenges and needs in the classroom. Immediately following, the group headed to the Banquet where they mixed and mingled with the new class, and reconnected with  junior and seniors who they were already well acquainted with. “It is such a pleasure to watch students, like Richard Tucker, develop into confident role models for the younger classes. In a true example of the success of our program, I am excited to see the sophomores grow throughout the next three years.” – Susie Emami, MATCH Program Manager.
 

The Banquet featured a presentation by Culinary Arts instructor Virginia Marsoobian of the Future Homemakers of America-Home Economics Related Occupations (FHA Hero) Program. Students engage in local, regional and state competitions in various culinary arts categories such as commercial food preparation and culinary arts displays. These competitions allow MATCH students the opportunity to use lessons learned inside the classroom and apply them in a fun and creative way. MATCH students have been competing since 2005 and have enjoyed a great deal of success.


MATCH alumni were on hand to welcome the new sophomores and offer words of wisdom. They explained how participating in MATCH and competing in the FHA Hero competitions changed their lives.  Many have attended or are attending culinary programs throughout the U.S. on substantial scholarships won through the various competitions. Alumni who came to the banquet included Amber Jones, class of 2007, who received a scholarship to attend culinary school in Vermont, and Richard Aguero, class of 2007, who received an $85,000 scholarship to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

Special thanks go out to MATCH Lead Teacher Janet Furuya for putting on such an enjoyable event and Patricia Scott, of LAUSD, for her continued support. With dedicated faculty, industry support, and alumni who come back again and again, it is obvious the MATCH Academy “family” bond is very strong. Here’s to another great year of fun, learning, and culinary excellence!

~Food Network Star Jaime Oliver interviewed Rigo Salas, another successful MATCH alumni! Check out the article here!

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Filed under Banning High School, MATCH