We’ve all got a story: The instructor who helped you conquer the fear of geometry, or provided comfort when you were bullied, or encouraged you to apply for a scholarship. In this ongoing series, we introduce some of the educators and students behind those stories.
By Greg Carannante
School: American Heritage School, 12200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation; 6200 Linton Blvd., Delray Beach; ahschool.com
Teacher: Ani Porter, pre-law, seven years at the Boca Delray Campus.
Student: Emma Perez, class of 2015.
Success Story: With Emma’s leadership, American Heritage’s Boca Mock Trial team won first place at the Yale University high school mock trial competition and the Providence Cup Mock Trial competition in 2013. She won best attorney in both competitions. In the Moot Court Competition, Emma earned the opportunity to argue in front of the Florida Supreme Court, winning the State Championship in 2015. Emma received the distinguished QuestBridge Scholarship to the University of Chicago, where she is a sophomore majoring in global studies.
Student’s Essay: I became involved in studying law in ninth grade. Mrs. Porter encouraged synthetic thinking and understanding, which began to sharpen my mind to think more analytically and critically. She encouraged her students to think like lawyers on exams and it has helped me so much. Mrs. Porter urged me to do what made me happy and to do right by myself. Without this advice, I do not think I would be where I am today. Mrs. Porter was a role model. I still say I want to be Mrs. Porter when I grow up. After my undergraduate career, I intend to attend law school. I hope to work in punitive policy and prison reform. Every little girl’s dream is to sit on the Supreme Court (or maybe that’s just my dream) – and that is still a dream of mine.
Teacher’s Comments: Emma is naturally very intelligent and mature beyond her years. Her mother being a Cuban immigrant and me coming from Albania, we were able to relate about the struggles immigrant women face to achieve success. Emma would have been successful without me. She earned the highest grades in all law courses I taught, often the highest in her class. She was a great competitor who lifted up the performance of every team, not to mention Emma’s compassion for community service and the work she did for the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. In the words of Executive Director Robert Bertisch, ‘Emma was remarkable.’ That’s an expression you’d hear a lot when people refer to Emma.