Three IH High School students named to Civics and Law Honor Roll

Three IH High School students named to Civics and Law Honor Roll
Posted on 06/02/2017
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Based on their talent in social studies, Mock Trial and Moot Court, three talented seniors –  Milan Bhandari, Jeongwon Ryu and Mrinal Singh – were the first Indian Hill High School students to be named to the prestigious American Bar Association Commission on Civic Education’s Civics and Law Honor Roll. Only nine students throughout Ohio were named to the Roll this year.

The way they achieved this honor was a bit off the beaten path. After a highly successful two years in Mock Trial, these three ambitious young men decided they wanted more of a challenge. They became interested in the appellate process, but this was not included in the Mock Trial program; so they decided to start a Moot Court program at Indian Hill. 

They took on themselves the huge challenge of learning how to compete in this brand-new-to-Indian-Hill program. At the start, they used their knowledge from Mock Trial but were pretty much on their own. Then, as they began to put together their arguments, they asked for input from Mock Trial coach Steve Reger. Mrinal explains, “We placed in the top 5 and realized this was actually something we could be good at.”

“We started to go to tournaments,” he continues, “and we ended up competing at the state and national level. When we had success there, more people became interested.” 

“We showed them it was possible to do well in Moot Court competitions,” Jeongwon says, which attracted more people from the lower grades. 

As seniors, Milan, Jeongwon and Mrinal took more of a back seat and really focused on growing the younger team consisting of juniors and seniors. Jeongwon continues, “We also brought two junior attorneys – James Orr and Cameron Metz – from Mock Trial to state and competed with them.” As what he describes as a “natural extension of what we are doing in Mock Trial,” the program is a good way to provide students with another perspective on the legal and appellate process. 

Mrinal feels it was nice to make the transition from competitor to coach: “We could take a step back and teach skills that we’ve learned, rather than simply focusing on investing time to compete. That taught us something completely different than what we’ve learned to date.”

This experience was an important part of helping them be named to the Honor Roll, but it took a lot more than this. “This is more than just a legal award,” Milan says. “It’s about civics, academic success, and continued commitment to the organization.”

The three were nominated by Mr. Reger and considered against other candidates throughout the state of Ohio. Being three out of only nine students named is a huge honor!

However, winning the award was just icing on the cake of a bigger picture for these three competitive and driven students. Milan believes, “No matter what field you’re interested in, these programs [Mock Trial and Moot Court] are really helpful in teaching you how to think and improving your public speaking skills.”

Jeongwon agrees, saying the biggest thing that affected him was “being part of a winning culture, a culture Mr. Reger provided us as freshmen. He gave us goals to work toward, things to aspire toward. That gave me an anchor, so I could look back and know I have worked toward goals and succeeded.”

Mrinal feels the entire experience was great preparation for college: “It teaches life skills you might not learn otherwise, such as interviewing, professionalism, being able to think on your feel, to question what’s being put in front of you. We learn to challenge facts, to think … we are exposed to different types of people and thinking styles, and we were able to see where we stand and how we communicate with others.”

He finishes by reasserting how important it is to question and understand: “The ability to know both sides is critical.”