SAN JUAN – Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD hosted a kick-off event to officially launch its new Pre-Law Institute on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 at PSJA Early College High School. The Pre-Law Institute, which is the first of its kind in the area, will mentor and guide high school students interested in pursuing careers in the legal field.

According to PSJA School Board President Jesse Zambrano, the goal of the district's new Pre-Law Institute is to provide PSJA students interested in a career in law with one-on-one mentorship from local attorneys and judges, insight on what it takes to get admitted into Law School, and opportunities to be part of special workshops, job shadowing, and internships.

As part of the kickoff, attorneys and judges, who are also PSJA ISD alumni, spoke to over 100 students in grades 10th-12th about their experiences in the field and the importance of taking advantage of opportunities provided as part of PSJA's Pre-Law Institute. Guest speakers included Probate Court Judge-Elect Joanna Garcia (PSJA North HS, Class of 2003), Judge Rodolfo “Rudy” Gonzalez (PSJA HS, Class of 1977), Judge Arnoldo Cantu, Sr. (PSJA HS, Class of 1972) and Attorney Mike Cano (PSJA North HS, Class of 1993).

“No other school district in Hidalgo County has a Pre-Law Institute like this,” Judge Arnoldo Cantu, Jr. told students. “Your school leaders are at the cutting edge of innovation and constantly working to provide the best educational opportunities for you!”

In addition to guest speakers, students got to witness a real sentencing hearing hosted by Hidalgo County Judge Luis Singleterry and got a glimpse of what to expect in law school through a Law School Classroom Simulation hosted by University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Professor and Attorney Jaime Peña.

“Lawyers are no different than you are,” said Attorney Mike Cano as part of his closing remarks. “Your journey is not going to be easy. Law school is not going to be easy, but just believe in yourself and you will be able to do anything.”