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LACAH Youth Spotlight - January 2023

Jessiely Woods - LACAH Latin America Representative

Introduction:

Hi! My name is Jessiely Woods. I’m seventeen years old and live in São Paulo, Brasil. In December I was matched with Vanderbilt University through QuestBridge, receiving a full four-year scholarship to study Political Science. I have a lot of interests and seek to combine my passions in medicine and law throughout my college years.

I did a lot of activities in high school, like baking, soccer, and volleyball, but my school lacks strength in extracurricular activities for students. Therefore, I was never able to truly pursue my interest in debate and law, before getting involved with LACAH.

Experience with LACAH:

Even before LACAH, I studied a lot of history. However, participating in mock trials where I’ve had to put myself in the perspective of the perpetrators or victims gave me new insights into history and social justice issues. I focused more on the details, opinions, and motivations of both sides, realizing that we can’t judge alleged social injustices too quickly — there are always multiple sides to a story. LACAH taught me to look deeper into these occurrences and fed my curiosity to learn more. I also got to see the idea of “learning from past mistakes” being put into action. It is truly incredible how much history can teach us, impacting our understandings of the past, present, and future. Finally, being a member of the youth council has also helped me build confidence is being a leader, and I’m excited to be helping organize LACAH Americas soon!

To future competitors, please do be afraid to jump at this amazing opportunity. Participating in a mock trial for the first time can be incredibly nerve-wracking, making you feel insecure or like an amateur. But the experience can teach you so much. You’ll leave with a new network of international peers with similar interests and an experience of full immersion into the world of mock trial and law. For me, mock trial was an aspect I did not have much experience with, but through LACAH, it is now one of the areas I feel best in.

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