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Special from Avery Arizola, Region One Education Service Center

McAllen ISD Mock Trial teams dominated the Region One Annual Mock Trial Competition for a third consecutive year, with Lamar Academy and McAllen Memorial High earning the top two spots on Jan. 27, at the Hidalgo County Courthouse. The top two teams will travel to Dallas to compete in the state competition set for March 8-9.

Taking home individual honors, Maria Fernanda Brennar of Lamar Academy and Nicole Silberman of Memorial High were named best advocate and witness, respectively. In the Courtroom Sketch Artist Category, Alexis Martinez of Brownsville Rivera Early College High claimed first place, with Lamar Academy’s Adrian Villegas taking second.

In addition to regional glory, the Lamar Academy team will receive a $1,000 scholarship check and Memorial High will receive a $750 scholarship award. The Courtroom Artist winners will receive a $150 and $100 scholarship award for first and second place, respectively.

The Texas Mock Trial Competition is a statewide extracurricular program whose primary purpose is to increase students’ understanding of the judicial system by providing a first-hand experience in court proceedings. Eleven schools competed in the annual event which requires students to address legal issues, legal procedures, reasoning skills in a real-life setting, and productive and creative thinking, according to Region One ESC Mock Trial Coordinator Jose J. Saenz.

"The commitment from both students and coaches is remarkable,” Saenz said. “They invest countless hours outside of regular school hours, including weekends and holidays, to meticulously craft their case. Students benefit from invaluable guidance offered by practicing attorneys, enriching their preparation process and adding to their educational experience."

Special thanks are extended to Hidalgo County Bar Association, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP, ABOTA RGV Chapter, Omar Ochoa Law Firm, Pitchford-Davis, LLP, Damon Garcia, for their generous scholarship donations. Sheriff’s office Lieutenant Guajardo and many Deputies who assisted. Juanita Montoya and Ludivina Segovia Plata Custodial Services, Judge Richard F. Cortez for allowing use of the Hidalgo County Courthouse and Judge Fernando Mancias, Judge Ysmael Fonseca, Justice Gina Benavides, Judge Lauren Sepulveda, Judge Karen Betancourt and many attorneys throughout the region for volunteering.

Above at top, McAllen ISD's Lamar Academy Mock Trial Team poses with their trophy after winning first place in the Region One Annual Mock Trial Competition on Jan. 27, 2024 at the Hidalgo County Courthouse. The team will represent Region One in the state competition, which will be held March 8-9 in Dallas.

Above, Memorial High celebrates their second place finish in the Region One Annual Mock Trial Competition, held Jan. 27, 2024 at the Hidalgo County Courthouse. Memorial High will join their sister school in the state competition. 

About the Region One Education Service Center
Region One Education Service Center ( serves more than 422,000 students and educators in eight South Texas counties, including Brooks, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties. Region One works to assist school systems in improving student performance, assist districts to operate more efficiently and economically, and implement initiatives assigned by the legislature or the Commissioner of Education.