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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Arora wins “Best Attorney” award for second year in a row

Grace Hsu
Arora stands smiling in front of the library.

One of the most difficult tasks a student must face throughout their high school years is balancing their life. With schoolwork, sports, clubs, and jobs, students must be able to manage their academic, athletic, and social lives on a daily basis. Students are usually forced to prioritize some extracurriculars over others, limiting the amount of clubs they can do because of schoolwork or sports.

However, one WA student has overcome these obstacles and excelled in her extracurriculars. Senior Rhythm Arora, co-captain of Mock Trial, co-president of DECA, and president of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), recently won “Best Attorney” at the Garden City Mock Trial Tournament for the second year in a row.

At the Garden City Invitational Tournament on Oct. 14 and 15th, eight elite Mock Trial teams were invited to partake in three trials. These trials were about a case of assault and battery, where two different sides of a fictional country feuded because one teenager assaulted another due to their national origin.

Arora took on the role of cross-examiner for two trials, where she had to interrogate the other team’s witness, direct examiner of one trial, where she questioned her team’s witness, and said the closing statements for all three trials. In the tournament, there were multiple judges in each trial and each judge chose two Best Attorneys and two Best Witnesses. Arora was nominated by all of the judges, and after tallying the ballots, she had received the most votes. She then won Best Attorney for the second year in a row.

Arora standing with her Best Attorney award and another award recipient with whom she tied. (Provided by Arora)

“I think there’s so many amazing attorneys that come to the tournament [that are] not just from our team,” Arora said. “Garden City is such an elite competition with so many elite teams with a history of doing really good at mock trial and having all these really good attorneys. So to win it, I feel really lucky and I’m really excited about it.”

Mock trial advisor Jonathan Meagher emphasizes the extent of Arora’s accomplishment, explaining how getting the award is no easy feat. In fact, Meagher has not had a student win the award since he coached in a different school three years ago.

“The tournament involves eight of the best Mock Trial teams in the state. So you’re up against some of the best trial attorneys in Massachusetts,” Meagher said. “And so to be in the opinion of judges, the clear choice for being the best attorney in a trial is quite an accomplishment, and to have that happen over and over again is a tremendous accomplishment.”

While this level of success often takes four years of experience on the team, this wasn’t the case for Arora. Arora joined Mock Trial in her sophomore year as she didn’t originally know it was available at WA. She was made aware of the team by her current co-captain Nikhil Singh, who suggested Arora join it when he learned that she was interested in law. Arora thought the team sounded fun and interesting, so she joined immediately.

“I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, and because of Mock Trial, I think that dream has kind of become more real to me and I’m really excited to have that in my future,” Arora said.

However, Arora’s quick success is not to say she didn’t work hard for her achievements. A few weeks prior to the tournament, she practiced with the team twice a week, for two hours a day after school. The preparation for the case started early in the school year, spanning at least six weeks.

At the meetings, the team read the case over and over again, attempting to understand what they were trying to prove and how to best accomplish it. They emphasized their focus on the witness affidavits, which are the pretrial statements of the six witnesses. Other things the team analyzed included police reports and photographs, which helped the attorneys create direct examinations and cross-examinations, which they also practiced in their meetings.

Besides the extensive hard work done to prepare for the case, Arora credits her success to Meagher and the entire team, explaining how they have provided a strong support system and pushed her to succeed. She has learned from Meagher being an experienced coach and by improving with his advice. Arora also learned from every upperclassman who has since graduated from the team.

“I think honestly [the success] just comes from experience and seeing other people [play the role of attorney], learning from them and adding my own twist to it,” Arora said.

The 2023-2024 Mock Trial team poses in front of the school. (Provided by Arora)

Arora has taken leadership positions in all three of her organizations. Both DECA and Mock Trial meet twice a week for an hour after school, and Mock Trial team meetings are extended to two hours before large tournaments such as the Garden City Invitational Tournament. As a leader in these large organizations at WA, Arora balances schoolwork and the extracurriculars by understanding where her priorities are. She hopes to incorporate all three in her future career.

“I love these clubs so much that I never want to do anything halfway. I don’t care how late I have to go to sleep or what I have to do, I’ll get it done for those clubs just because I care so much,” Arora said. “And I think because I am so interested in those clubs, the work for those clubs doesn’t seem like work.”

To anyone trying to be successful in Mock Trial, Arora urges students to put in the work, as success in trials comes from a lot of preparation and practice.

“I think you get out of it how much you put into it,” Arora said. “I think with Mock Trial, it’s one of those organizations that you really have to give a lot of attention to and if you want to succeed, you have to come to a meeting and understand what the case is actually like. The biggest thing is trying to be flexible and trying to take all the advice that’s being given to you while also adapting to new situations that are being presented.”

The 2023-2024 Mock Trial cabinet. From left to right, co-captain Nikhil Singh, treasurer Sydney Brotherston, secretary Medha Jegga, and Arora. (Provided by Arora)

Overall, Meagher is extremely proud of Arora as a person. After having her in his AP U.S. History class, it was clear to Meagher that Arora was a great participant in her classes and a fantastic speaker. He describes her as outgoing and charismatic, and is impressed by how she always has something important to say which she always addresses.

“[Arora] is just an awesome person who is smart,¬†talented and hardworking, and she just has this tremendously positive attitude that she brings to things,” Meagher said. “I think she’s an inspiration to everybody on the team. She is the very definition of a leader and does an outstanding job as co-captain of the team. I think that she is very highly respected by everyone else on the team and for a good reason. She’s not only talented and hardworking, but she is also a great person who people respond very, very well to.”

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About the Contributor
Grace Hsu, Features Editor
Hi, my name is Grace Hsu and I am a sophomore as well as one of the features editors of the Ghostwriter. This is my second year on the paper and I joined because I like to read and write. In my free time, I like to listen to Taylor Swift and spend time with my friends and family. I also swim competitively and I love to go to the beach. I'm looking forward to another great year!

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