Moot Court Scrimmage, 2017

By Beatriz Martinez

After months of preparation, the SHSU Moot Court team had their first competition at The University of Texas Arlington. The scrimmage had everyone very excited, as everyone was ready to give it their best. We have 3 teams composed of three veterans and three new members. It was the moment of truth where we would see how far our hard work and dedication would take us.

May it Please the Court, We represent SHSU- Moot Court Day 1
By Beatriz Martinez

As hopeful lawyers in training, the 6 of us headed to the University of Texas Arlington for our first Moot Court Competition of the year. Various universities gather together after around six months of preparation. One “problem case” has been given to them, arguing two different legal issues. In this case, the issues we are addressing are the Fifth and Eight Amendments. The Moot Court competitors take the time to study these cases as well as 8-10 supporting actual cases that they use in order to create their arguments. Later, they go to a school, often times a law school, to present their case to a panel of judges made up of law students, law professors, lawyers, and even an occasional judge. Competitors are scored depending on their presentation skills, their quick thinking, knowledge of the case at bar, supporting cases, and of course their arguments!

SHSU Moot Court, LEAP Center, UTA, TUMCA

Everyone was nervous, but we played it off with our cool, professional lawyer-like demeanor. We had all prepared to the best of our abilities and were ready to give it our best. After signing in, we scouted the school to find where our “courtrooms” were. During Moot Court competitions, the competitors do not know which side they will be representing, whether it be for the petitioner (the person appealing the lower court’s decision) or the respondent (the other side, of course!). There are three rounds from which the top 16 teams are chosen. These top teams would then advance to the second day of the competition.

As soon as everyone got their opponents, the competition began. It was a tumultuous time for all. After the last round ended, everyone gathered together in the common area for the final results of which of the 25 teams would be able to advance to the second day of competition as part of the Top 16 teams. We were excited to find out that Austin Taylor (a second-year competitor) and Kristyn Couvillion (a third-year competitor) had made it to the second day!

Moot Court Day 2
By Beatriz Martinez

After a long night of prepping, Kristyn and Austin headed back for the second round of competitions. We all got settled in for the coordinator to let us know who their competitors would be and which side they would have to argue. Of course, Kristyn and Austin used that extra time to get focused and continue their preparation in order to succeed in this next round.

SHSU Moot Court, LEAP Center, UTA, TUMCA

Meanwhile, the rest of us tried our best to help them as much as possible by going on a quick Starbucks run and took the opportunity to explore the University of Arlington as well. UTA just so happened to have similar spirit colors as ours with theirs being blue, orange, and white. They also had various interesting art pieces such as their spirit horses which they have scattered across campus and serve as a way to engage the students in art. There is one in particular that we liked the best (for obvious reasons) named “Dynamic” which we definitely were feeling at the moment. We also took a moment to take a picture with one of the many interesting fountains housed at UTA.

SHSU Moot Court, LEAP Center, UTA, TUMCA

Finally, we headed back to continue to cheer on our team. The results were in and the competitors were ready to accept the challenge ahead. Before the competition started, we took a picture of solidarity between the two teams.

It was a very close round with only a difference of 20 points. Sadly, our team did not advance more than that. As a consolation, we headed on to a Mediterranean Grill called Andalous, which had a variety of plates from different regions. The food was delicious and we greatly enjoyed not only the food but also the multitude of learning experiences we had gotten from the last two days. The SHSU team was more determined than ever to improve and do a lot better in our next competition at Texas A&M Law School on November 4th. For now, everyone was headed back to Huntsville to prepare, except for me since I had a flight to catch to meet the other LEAP Ambassadors in Washington D.C.

 

Practicing the LSAT

The first breeze of fall signaled the beginning of an awaited event by many pre-law students. 72 hopeful individuals voluntarily woke up early on a Saturday morning and made their way to campus to take the dreaded Mock LSAT.

Each semester, the LEAP Center hosts a Mock LSAT for students interested in applying to law school.

Princeton Review, Mock LSAT, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Pre-Law Studies, SHSU

The LSAT, an acronym for Law School Admissions Test, is a challenging exam that tests students reading comprehension, logical thinking, and critical thinking skills. This semester, Princeton Review proctored the exam for the LEAP Center’s record breaking number of attendees. Our hope is to provide the means for students to get a realistic viewpoint on how they can expect to perform during the real LSAT and then plan accordingly.

Additionally, students learned about Princeton’s LSAT Prep Course and the services they offer to help prepare for the rigorous exam. Although taking a test on a breezy Saturday morning may not be the most fun, it proved to be helpful for many students! Many thanks to Ms. Michelle Bell, for being a wonderful proctor!

 

Biloxi News: Southern Legislative Conference, Day 1

Our first day in Biloxi, Mississippi began in a typical LEAP fashion: getting to discover what the variety of local attractions the Magnolia State had to offer. Having gotten to Biloxi late last night, we were unable to even glimpse what this new state was all about, but today we took full advantage of what it had to offer.

Half Shell Oyster House, by Christina Perez

Our first stop was in a quaint, local restaurant called Half Shell Oyster House. Nestled in Mississippi’s downtown area, this refurbished bank turned restaurant, was a hidden pearl. Surprisingly enough, about half of the ambassadors had never tried oysters, so the main course of our cuisine consisted of just that, including both raw oysters and grilled oysters.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, Half-Shell Oyster House

To make it even more of a MS treat, we had fried tomatoes and crab cakes, The first timers prepared their oysters, and together took their first bite. All were glad to try it, but some proved more adventurous than others.

Next, we decided to partner up and share a plate so that we could save some room for dessert. Beatriz and Christina ordered a Seafood Sampler which included oysters, crab cakes, shrimp, and two sides: Sweet Potato Crème Brulee and Fried Okra. I couldn’t wait to taste the scrumptious Sweet Potato Creme Brulee. Ryan and Makayla decided to also be adventurous by ordering a Big Easy Surf and Turf which included a 6 oz filet over a crab cake. Strong reviews were given on the variety of seafood plates and then it was time for dessert.

We all decided on the Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding and the Bananas Foster Cheesecake. The Bread pudding was made with cinnamon rolls and topped with Homemade Spiced Rum Sauce. Professor Yawn, being the bread pudding connoisseur that he is, began to compare it to other bread puddings. It was delicious. So delicious in fact, that many of the Leapsters ended up burning their mouths due to their impatience for another bite. Everyone left happy and with full bellies towards the next adventure which would be a good compliment to the food.

Chandaleur Island Brewery, By Makayla Mason

As part of the Southern Legislative’s Conference first event, we went to tour the Chandeleur Island Brewery. We were greeted at the entrance by some sweet artisan ice pops, handcrafted by Pop Brothers.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Popbrothers, Chandaleur Island Brewery

After a day in the hot sun, we thought the popsicles were heavenly!  There were even some pleasant surprises such as an entire Oreo on the inside of the “Cookies and Cream” popsicle!

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Popbrothers, Chandaleur Island Brewery

After enjoying our ice pops, Chris Vignes, the City of Gulfport’s Public Information Officer, gave us some of the brewery’s backstory, and he explained the City’s economic development philosophy and vision for the future.

Once behind the the bar, one of the owners supplemented the tour, and we learned about the interesting history behind the building, the background of the company, and process of composing the beer.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Popbrothers, Chandaleur Island Brewery

Chandeleur Brewery was never meant to be just a bar.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Popbrothers, Chandaleur Island Brewery

Instead it was meant to revive the interest in hand-crafted beer and be a place where families could relax. Bringing the community together was crucial to the existence of the Brewery. Their beer cans were designed by a local tattoo artist, which we all thought was an interesting fact! Over the years it has grown to be quite popular and in the 14 years of the Chandeleur Brewery bartender’s experience there has never been a fight.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Popbrothers, Chandaleur Island Brewery

Wanting to partake in the famous reputation of this Brewery, we sampled some of their beers (by “we,” we mean those of age). Out of the 5 samples that we could try, the popular vote went to the sweeter blueberry-flavored beer. After that, we played a couple of games ranging from Jenga…

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Popbrothers, Chandaleur Island Brewery

…and Bean Bag Toss, or “Corn Hole,” as Christina and Ryan call it.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Popbrothers, Chandaleur Island Brewery

As part of the advertising the many treasures hidden downtown, we learned about Fishbone Alley.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Fishbone Alley, Gulfport MS

Just a block away from the Brewery, this alley had a charm all of its own.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Fishbone Alley, Gulfport MS

Once an plain-looking alley, it had gotten a touch up by many local artists from the area, decking it out in a variety pieces of art.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Fishbone Alley, Gulfport MS

This also enhanced the community bonding that the Brewery was trying to promote.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Fishbone Alley, Gulfport MS

This alley created a space where people from the community could get together for music, peace and quiet, expressing themselves through the medium of art, or some of the rather odd games the city sometimes hosted. The alley is a continuous project in which locals are excited to see grow.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Fishbone Alley, Gulfport MS

Jet Ski Adventure, by Ryan Brim

After getting back to Beau Rivage from the Chandeleur Island Brewery, we still had some time before attending the welcoming reception. Quickly, everyone decided to take the extra time to change at the hotel into some more beach-appropriate attire and drive the short distance to a jet ski rental stand right off the beach. None of us had ever ridden a jet ski before, and we were very excited for the opportunity.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Jet Skiing, Biloxi Beach

First, we paired up, with Christina being Makayla and Ryan partnering with Beatriz. We donned our life vests and waited a few minutes for the jet skis to get set up. After a 2-minute training, we were off. Time seemed to rush past us as we zipped every which way, skimming along the waves.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Jet Skiing, Biloxi Beach

Both teams switched drivers, taking turns and experimenting with the jet ski until they felt comfortable on maneuvering the machine around.

It was easy to get the hang of, and a whole lot of fun!

Finally, our time was up. Sadly, we trekked across the sand back to the shore…

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Jet Skiing, Biloxi Beach

…and even found a small crab which Beatriz had accidentally taken for a ride throughout the entire jet skiing experience. After a couple more pictures…

…it was soon time to head back to the hotel to prepare for the day’s next event.

Opening Reception at Jones Park, by Beatriz Martinez

Thirty minutes later, the LEAP Ambassadors were headed on their way to Jones Park where the Opening Reception for the Southern Legislative Conference of 2017 was being held. Music reached our ears as we walked across the “Front Yard of Mississippi”. We were greeted by a very Southern “Welcome Y’all” sign at the main entrance of the Barksdale Pavilion.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Jones Marina and Municipal Park, Gulfport MS

Of course, we could not help but take a picture with it. As famished as we were, we decided to explore the tantalizing food options available. With a very Southern theme mixed with some of the more coastal delicacies, we were served Bayou rice, a variety of local seafood (no oysters this time), and of course some good old-fashioned barbecue. In the meantime, we were enjoying the night music by Bobby Rush.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Bobby Rush. Blues Music

With over 17 blues awards in his lifetime, 364 records, and 66 years in the musical career, Bobby Rush was a sight to behold. At his early age of 84, he had the crowd grooving to his music pulling in people of all ages.

Not only did he present himself like the “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit” that he is…

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Bobby Rush

…but also did other king impersonations such as the “King of Pop” (Michael Jackson)…

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Bobby Rush. Blues Music

and the “King of Rock and Roll” (Elvis Presley).

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors, Bobby Rush. Blues Music

To end the evening with a bang, we were dazzled by a firework display that lighted the dark, night sky.

After celebrating the beginning of the Southern Legislative Conference, the Leapsters headed home to rest for the upcoming days filled with adventure.

Southern Legislative Conference, Biloxi MS, SHSU, Sam Houston State University, LEAP Ambassadors