Lillian Barreto needed some convincing to try to earn the opportunity of a lifetime.
The Truman three-sport star was approached by assistant principal Jordana Bell last October about trying out for a chance to compete at the International Moot Court in Holland. Barreto is a rising star in the school’s law program and had a law internship as a sophomore, but she was leery about going so far from home. Her father quickly put her straight, telling her to give it shot.
“Usually he is more conservative and reserved about me going far,” Barreto said. “After that I was like OK. I’ll try out.”
The senior made the team of 16 high school students from New York City weeks later and represented the United States at the competition from Jan 21-24 at The Hague, the seat of government in the Netherlands. Barreto, who plays soccer, basketball and flag football at Truman, called it a great learning experience and saw her performance arguing a case improve as the competition went along. The trip reaffirmed for her that being a lawyer is something she wants to continue to strive to be.
“Standing up there and talking on behalf of someone’s rights I really want to do,” she said. “All the paper work that’s involved, all the studying involved is kind of hard. At the end of the day it’s all pretty fun.”
This experience didn’t come without sacrifices. Barreto, a high 90’s student, had to practice twice a week at the law firm of Clifford Chance, which was one of the team’s sponsors. It caused her to miss time with the basketball team and she wasn’t there for the squad’s first round playoff game.
“She’s so talented and so good at so many things she had to put something aside and make choices,” Truman girls’ hoops and soccer coach John Burke said…“She had a choice of going Holland for a week or getting yelled at by me.”
Barreto felt taking time away from basketball kept her from performing at her best this season. As a bench player she feels she isn’t good enough to just turn playing on and off. Basketball is not her first sport however. Barreto will play soccer next year at Lehman College, where she was selected to be the William E. Macaulay Honors College. She scored 12 goals and dished out 14 assists while helping Truman to a 12-2-0 record and the Bronx B Division title. Barreto also has the flag football team of to a 7-0 start.
“She’s the best player on the [soccer] team,” Burke said. “She’s the creative one.”
Barreto however describes herself as quiet and more reserved normally. Defending others brings out a different side of her, one that he is still developing and enjoying.
“At the end of the day its fund because I like arguing,” Barreto said. “I like proving a point.”