Moot Court Scrimmage: Aftermath

After an intense 24 hour period competing and observing Moot Court proceedings, the LEAP Ambassadors, Moot Court participants, and members of the pre-law cohort decided to relax a bit, explore the history of Dallas on a Segway, and fill their bellies.

The relaxation involved some downtime at the hotel, followed by an ice-cream treat.

Shortly thereafter, another treat was in order.  We stopped by Segway Nation for a tour of Dallas on a segway.


It was a beautiful time of day, what movie-makers call “magic hour,” and we made the most of it with pictures.


But, of course, with it turning a bit dark, Austin felt he need to serve as a protector of the group, and adopted a secret-service/tough guy look.


At first, not everyone felt totally relaxed…

Segway_Alex_Close_Up_Web…but eventually everyone got the hang of it, and we headed off to see Dallas.

The segway tour took us to Pioneer Plaza, a large outdoor sculpture that consists of 49 bronze steers and 3 riders created by sculptor Robert Sommers.  Note that it appears that Alex is saluting when, in fact, that it is a longhorn projecting in front of her face.


The tour, led by excellent guides Doug and Jack, also took us by I. M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall, where we were able to turn and see the beautiful Dallas skyline which, according to our guides, is regularly listed as one of the five most beautiful in the US.

The tour also took us by the Kennedy assassination site on Elm Street.  The students had a chance to get off the segways and walk to the “X” spots, which mark where the Oswald’s shots hit Kennedy.

JFK_Elm_Students_WebWe also entered the Kennedy Memorial, designed by Philip Johnson, one of the great architects of the 20th Century.

Kennedy_Memorial_Student_WebSpeaking of Johnson, we were also able to go to Thanksgiving Square, a public space he designed in the 1970s as a means of racial and cultural healing.  With a replication of Rockwell’s “Golden Rule” painting…

…and the “Ring of Thanks,” where visitors are encouraged to stand and offer thanks.  From the center of the ring, the sound reverberates, symbolically echoing the many things for which we are thankful.  In our group, thanks went to family, opportunities, school, and even the LEAP Center.

Thanksgiving Square also has a spiral chapel adorned with one of the largest stained glass assemblages in the world.  The glass, designed by Gabriel Loire of France, is designed to become brighter as it ascends and moves to the center.

In the midst of such beauty, it was easy to be thankful.

And with that, we returned to the segway base, where we shed our helmets and headed to Hoffbrau Steaks (thanks for the recommendation, Doug!) and enjoyed a robust end-of-the-day dinner.


But before heading out we gave a few more thanks: to our LEAP Ambassadors, who came to Dallas to cheer on their Moot Court friends; to the Pre-Law cohort, who came to check out the action and consider joining the team for next year; for Kristyn, who decided to stick with the “team” rather than go home; and to our coach, Jean Loveall, who spent a lot of time teaching us the finer points of law.

Day 2: Dallas Historical Tour–Dulce Martinez and Tessa Fendley

The second day of our Dallas trip started early Saturday morning at the Southern Methodist University campus. SMU has one of the most beautiful campuses we have seen. The architecture is the first thing that captures your eye.  Dallas Hall, for example, is beautiful, and it was the first building on SMU’s campus (1915), designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge.

SHSU Students in Front of Dallas Hall
       SHSU Students in Front of Dallas Hall

Also impressive was the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, the location for our New Politics Forum Seminar.  Given Tower’s history serving Texas, it was a fitting venue for our conference on public careers.


We first attended a panel on State Policy Making, featuring Chancellor Lee Jackson, Representative Kenneth Sheets, and Representative Rafael Anchia. Chancellor Jackson Lee was formerly a member of the House of Representatives and is perhaps unusual in that he owns no social media accounts.  He emphasized the importance reliability and integrity.

Chancellor Lee Jackson
                Chancellor Lee Jackson

Representative Sheets fell into politics through his work in the military and volunteering for the Republican Party.  Unusual for a public official, he notes that he is horrible at remembering names. His tip for combating this is to always call someone “Ma’am” or “Sir.”

Representative Kenneth Shields
          Representative Kenneth Sheets

Representative Anchia, a first generation American, was the speaker who stood out the most to us.  He emphasized that politics and public service are separate, and that the former should never get in the way of the latter.  He was also spent the most time with students from SHSU, appearing impressed with the school’s LEAP program.

Representative Rafael Anchia with SHSU Students
    Rep. Rafael Anchia with SHSU Students

Our second session featured the keynote speaker, Senator Royce West. He is a fine speaker, and he interacted well with the audience.

TX Senator Royce West
                 TX Senator Royce West

He emphasized integrity as well as the importance of bipartisanship.  He applied these qualities to his own career, and noted that he was able to save his own legislative agenda by “listening and working with people.”  He also graciously stayed after with us, and encouraged us to continue getting the most out of our education.

SHSU Students with TX Senator West
       SHSU Students with TX Senator West

The last panel of the day addressed the Media and was led by Carol Reed, of Reed PRC, and Gromer Jeffers, from the Dallas Morning News.  Both, again, pressed issues of integrity and, members of the media, stressed credibility.

Following the event, we moved to Bandito’s Mexican Cantina for food and conversation.  We met Casey Bingham, who works for Greg Abbott and is a member of the Young Republicans of Dallas.

Casey Bingham and Dulce Martinez
       Casey Bingham and Dulce Martinez

We also met a student from UNT, who told us about a program the University offers focusing on non-profit economics.

We dined at Eatzi’s, a build-your-own meal place, that combines elements of a grocery story and a sit-down cafe. Here we enjoyed a wonderful array of foods. One of the must haves is the spicy spaghetti, with freshly prepared pasta and a spicy tomato sauce. If comfort food is your thing, the combination of the lemon chicken, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes is the ideal combination. If you are adventurous, the sweet curry chicken offers a unique blend of ingredients and texture. For dessert, we visited a small gelato ship, and I Had the “Monkey Business” gelato, which was probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had, offering banana, cinnamon, vanilla, and—as a surprise—chocolate.

With some energy restored, we headed to Dallas City Hall, which was designed I. M. Pei, probably the most celebrated living architect.  It was a beautiful and peaceful scene.

Dallas City Hall by I.M. Pei
               Dallas City Hall by I.M. Pei

From there, we checked out Pioneer Plaza, which was created by Robert Summers, a Texas artist.  It is the largest bronze sculpture in the world and makes for a dramatic scene in downtown Dallas.

Pioneer Plaza
                Pioneer Plaza

It was the perfect way to end the day!