By Elizabeth Gillingham
Patrick Henry Mock Trial Team
The County of San Diego offers a High School Mock Trial program to promote an understanding and respect for the American legal system.
According to their website, “The program seeks to develop high school students into better citizens by familiarizing them with our Constitution and Bill of Rights through a mock trial competition enhancing students’ ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and work as a team as well as with other members of society. The San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition and Program are administered by the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Committee, which is chaired by representatives of the San Diego County Superior Court and the San Diego County Bar Association. Representing local law agencies and organizations, and the state and federal courts, committee members devote hundreds of hours of volunteer time, as well as resources and expertise, to organize and conduct the annual competition.”
Mr. Kevin Kelly serves as our attorney coach of the PHHS Mock Trial Team and reported that they have just completed the 2019-20 campaign in impressive fashion. He stated, “The Mock Trial Team competes on a county-wide level and includes approximately 600 students across 32 high schools. The program is an after-school activity that can be fairly characterized as intellectually demanding, requiring students to prepare and take to trial a criminal case from pre-trial motions to verdict. It requires students to research facts, analyze the law, organize their thoughts, prepare witnesses, anticipate opposing positions, and present arguments to a judge. It is intense, extremely competitive, and attracts only the most highly motivated students in the San Diego area. In a word, the mock trial competition is hard. As a coach, I am privileged — alongside co-coach Ken Medel and teacher-advisor extraordinaire Jenny Ronco — to work with my team for several hours per week from September through February.”
Mr. Kelly was proud to report PHHS student Dillon Broderick won this year an award for Outstanding Pre-Trial Attorney. This impressive distinction brings great honor to himself, his parents, the team, and PHHS.
PHHS celebrates the great work of our team and recognizes the following students for their commitment and dedication: Adia Feigner, Allea Exxum, Alli Grimm, Andrea Zayas Conner, Aviel Cleveland, Brandon Guerra, Cameron Blakey, Claire Sutliff, Dillon Broderick, Hannah Murray, Ines Laimenche, Iris Drake, Jackson Miller, Jonn Segovia, Jenny Russell, Kayla Duong, Kellen Foster, Kiana Hawthorne, Kiersten Waters, Lily McDonald, Lily Stockdale, Maddie Filner, Maddie White, Matthew Dollman, Miriam Rosen, Samira Hassan, Trenna O’Harran and Via Ruiz.
For more information, visit the SD Mock Trial website at: sdmocktrial.org/.
February Student of the Month
Sergio Rynard was selected as our Student of the Month for February.
“He is an amazing student and has excelled during his four years at Patrick Henry High School,” stated Vice Principal Bill Miller during the monthly breakfast held by the Allied Gardens Kiwanis club.
Rynard has challenged himself by taking multiple AP classes and has been a member of our Associated Student Body program during his entire tenure at Henry. He serves this year as our ASB president and is credited for bringing unity and a positive energy to the team.
Here are some of the great things that teachers have said about Sergio:
“He’s a very gracious and thoughtful student. He is extremely active in ASB and takes his leadership position seriously.”
“Sergio is one of the best counseling monitors we have ever had — very friendly, helpful and great leadership skills.”
“Sergio brings a unique and valued insight to ERWC every day. With a voice that is strong and powerful, Sergio makes those around him better, challenging them to question the status quo. He is well liked by his peers and this teacher.”
“We are certainly fortunate to have Sergio in class, and he is more than deserving of this recognition.”
“Sergio is a very kind, caring soul. He is responsible, honest, trustworthy, and I can only hope that my own children will learn and practice all of the same qualities. Hats off to Sergio!”
“Sergio is a leader in every sense of the word. He is dedicated, he has vision, and he never asks something of his ASB that he isn’t willing to do himself (and honestly is doing right alongside them every step of the way). He sees strengths in others and is passionate about helping his fellow ASB to embrace their strengths and use them for the good of the class and the school. I cannot sing his praises enough, a few sentences cannot do justice. I cannot imagine ASB next year without him — does he have to be a senior already?!”
Patrick Henry celebrates Black History Month
Black History Month was established in 1926 in the United States and was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in history with the primary goal of teaching lessons about black American history in our nation’s public schools.
In today’s world, I’d like to think we integrate it all year, however this year, our Black Student Union club (BSU) coordinated some schoolwide activities which fostered this spirit. BSU club president Zyah Cephus and vice president Aeisha Osman wanted to write articles for the broadcast news to air weekly stories about influential people who have made a difference in our country. They also wanted to bring a special presentation for the students at Henry. They wanted to invite Nate Howard, who spoke at the district’s African American Summit to student leaders across the district, to visit Henry. We emailed him and once he heard who was asking and why, he waived his presentation fee and accepted a small grant (to cover travel expenses from Los Angeles to San Diego) from our PHHS Foundation.
The presentation he gave to a crowd of more than 400 students was about breaking away from stereotypes and writing your own story about who you are. Howard’s positive messages were given through his original poetry and by being a strong presence on the stage encouraging the students to participate in various ways. Students were asked to reflect on moments in their lives that were life changing and how that affects who they are today. He asked them to consider writing and telling their story rather than allowing others to do so.
Howard is a noted speaker who graduated from USC. He is the founder of an organization named Movement Be and spends time in after-school programs to inspire others to use poetry and writing as a form to express themselves.
After the event, students were encouraged to give the speaker feedback and one student in the crowd wrote, “I wanted to let you know that it was very special hearing you guys speak at Patrick Henry. My skin isn’t of color, so at first when I was invited, I didn’t feel welcome but you guys made it a lot easier to cope with others in the room. I went home that day after the presentation and told my mom everything that happened.”
Our BSU club has done a wonderful job in celebrating the outstanding work of others, but more importantly, they are focused on being a positive presence on our campus and on other campuses as well. They have taken on a special partnership with Green Elementary where club members volunteer every late-start Monday, by spending on hour on their campus reading to and mentoring young students selected to participate by the Green principal.
Principal Sandra McClure sent the following shout-out to our students for their support and help. She stated, “For the last few months, our Green students have worked in partnership with Henry’s Black Student Union. The Henry Patriots have been mentors to our Green Geckos. In order to make our meetings possible, our Henry BSU members wake up an hour early on their late-start days to meet with our kids. Together they discuss role models, positive characteristics, and even model exemplary ‘Playground Behavior.’ Our Henry students plan out the lessons and activities, and then come work side by side with our students. This is all done on their own time! We have 24 Green Geckos who have signed up for this opportunity, and there are about 10 Henry mentors who come support us. Our little guys truly look up to their high school mentors, and our mentors have been such an amazing example in so many ways. The Henry team has been so supportive — Mrs. Nix, the BSU advisor, and Listy Gillingham have supported us every step of the way. It truly has been a powerful and meaningful partnership, and I want the Henry Staff and students to know how much we appreciate their support!”
— Elizabeth Gillingham is principal of Patrick Henry High School.