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Waco ISD student gets to follow his dreams through educational opportunity

Waco ISD senior Suriel Barown got the chance to follow his dreams and hone his craft during a mock trial at Baylor Law School.
Posted at 7:33 PM, Feb 01, 2024

WACO, Texas — "I have been an artist since I could talk, like I’ve always been holding a pencil — I feel like I was born with a pencil in hand,” said Waco ISD senior, Suriel Barown.

Waco ISD is participating in this year’s regional mock trial, where one student is competing as the courtroom sketch artists.

Suriel Barown says he has a passion for art, and says this was an opportunity he could have never imagined.

It’s an opportunity being made available to him by his teacher.

“He was like, 'If you want, this is an opportunity for you and you can get your name out there as an artist,' and I was like 'Wow, that sounds pretty interesting' — personally it grounds me almost, like, it humbles you," Barown said.

"You get to put the world aside and your paper becomes like the center of your world."

Although Suriel is not front and center in the trial, he plays a vital role in the courtroom.

“The end result… being able to share what the piece means to you, like I love explaining to people my self portraits like I’m trying to portray this emotion, because this is happening, and you get to spread the message,” Barown said.

Barown is a self taught artist.

"I learned by myse — there’s not really an artist in my family, so I had to learn on my own,” he said.

Art has been a way for Suriel to express his feelings for as long as he could remember.

"I feel most comfortable with drawing my face and my emotions and portraying it through art,” Barown said.