Objection! Order in the courtroom! As Renee Layoun, sophomore, steps up to the stand, she faces the responsibility of being the youngest student to ever join the Mock Trial team in WLHS history.
In Layoun’s case, the balance between school and extra-curricular activities is a delicate one. Recieve too much homework, and many people abandon their other activities; pile on too much out-of-school work, and grades may start slipping. For Layoun, this balance is a constant struggle that comes with hard work, dedication and a love for what she does.
The school’s team lives a courtroom life in the classroom. They work on various cases given to them and defend their side in order to win the case. The team is hard working and high achieving in standards and qualifications, as the work involved requires adept public speaking skills, according to Layoun.
“We get cases and split into teams, and form questions and arguments as to why our side should win. It’s similar to a real court case,” Layoun said. “We compete against other schools’ Mock Trial Teams; those trials are very formal. Our goal is to make it to State and eventually Nationals.”
Mock Trial meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the school. They practice cases and improve their skills in order to prepare for upcoming trials against other schools. Regionals will be held on March 3, and the team is currently preparing for this competition.
The team is very supportive and often encourages her to strive for the best. There is no differentiation between ages, according to Layoun. Despite the fact that she is the ‘baby’ of the team, the upperclassmen treat her as part of the family. “It feels great knowing that I’m the youngest person to join the team. I feel honored and accomplished to be working with such a great team. They’re so supportive, especially the Senior Team because they’ve made it all the way to World, which is a huge deal, and because they make Mock Trial fun.”
Along with Mock Trial, Layoun is the founder of the Mathletes, a new club as of this year that placed third in a math competition in Washington recently. Add Sophomore Class Council, Model United Nations and ISEF to Layoun’s impressive extra-curricular schedule. On top of it all, she is also taking Pre-Calculus, Honors Law A and Orchestra as a cellist. With everything going on in her life, it seems hard to believe that she’s not overwhelmed all the time, but underneath it all, Layoun simply enjoys what she does on a daily basis.
“I want high school to be fun while it lasts, before real life starts. Joining clubs, playing sports and just being active in the school is a great way to get to know people and make friends,” Layoun said. “Sure, it’s a lot of work, but I’m prepared for it. I just use my time wisely; the time that I have I want to be beneficial. I think the key to it all is being responsible and having a strong work ethic. Make it fun! Accomplish everything you can in high school. It’ll be worth it in the end,” she said.