Kudos: Award-winning Month for NP3 High Students


THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Natomas Pacific Pathways High School has a lot to celebrate.

“It has been a successful and exciting month for NP3 students,” says Lauren Yarbrough, student body president of Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School.

Near the end of February, NP3’s first year Dance/Drill Team took home gold medals in two back-to-back competitions.

The all-female team consists of 13 members and is coached by former Sacramento Kings dancer and NP3 Middle School teacher Laura Sieglitz.

All the dancers are from different grade levels and spend five days a week practicing for competitions. They also perform practice runs during NP3 school events.

At their first competitive meet at the United Spirit Association Regional Competition, NP3 was the underdog.

“I think we were all a little intimidated because it was our first competition ever,” said Breanna Wilkie, one of the team’s sophomore members.

By the end of the competition, however, NP3’s team received first place in the dance division, beating last year’s champions, Mira Loma High School. Based on their scores, NP3 moved onto the NorCal State Championships.

At the state level, NP3 brought home first place in the medium military division and second place at in the dance division.

“With the combination of our amazing dance teacher, as well as our motivation and teamwork, we knew we had the ability to achieve so much in our first year,” said Kendra Johns, one of the co-captains of the dance team.

While the dance team was finishing their season, NP3’s second competitive team had just begun. The Mock Trial team at NP3 spends nearly six months reviewing, understanding and arguing their case.

Jake Shuler, one of the teacher coaches at NP3 said, “This was one of the best Mock Trial teams in our school history.”

NP3 is also coached by teacher Stephanie Brightwell and attorneys Keith Statan and Alan Donato.

With more than 45 students participating in Mock Trial, NP3 students were split into Black and Orange teams, with each student being an attorney or a witness in the case.

As participants of the 35th Gordon D. Schaber competition, which includes nearly 20 schools from all around Sacramento County, NP3’s Orange Team placed fifth. The Black Team received 9th place.

The competition takes a total of two weeks to complete and consists of six rounds. Each year, all schools also have the option of having Courtroom Artists and Journalists who must submit their masterpieces or articles highlighting the key points of the trial.

This year Madeeha Dean, Israel Ayanwale, Candace Thurmond, Melanie Thurmond, and Karen Dhillon were recipients of the best attorney awards. The Best Witness was junior Jalen Justice, who played the defendant for the Black Team.

“Mock Trial has been such an eventful and enlightening experience,” says Candace Thurmond, NP3 senior. “It teaches you that even during times of frustration, quitting is not an option and that’s a lesson I will take with me even after high school.”



  1. Neglected from mock trial awards article was award for best bailiff, Troy Miyasaki.

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