North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Lauraghy Alexandre Colon, Senior

Photo credited to Lauragahy

Name and Grade? Lauraghy, Senior

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what initially drew you to participate in track and Mock Trial? Growing up I had a few health problems that made it hard to breathe and move at times, and I joined the soccer team in middle school in hopes that that would make it better. But then ended up switching to track when I got kicked in the face by a ball causing me to have a fear of soccer balls. For the Mock Trial, I joined it because I had a big fear of public speaking and being in Mock Trial has taught me to think on my feet and speak in front of judges and attorneys who have been in law school for years. Mock Trial as well has made me decide I want to go into the legal field.

Balancing multiple extracurricular activities can be demanding. How do you manage your time effectively between track, and Mock Trial? Usually I have Mock Trial and track practice on the same days, so on those days I make sure I get extra sleep beforehand. But as soon as I get home I make sure to take a mental break from school for an hour and just hang with a friend and after, I grab my calendar and see what I have to do for my AP classes and just space out my studying for each class. I usually finish my homework around 11 pm on a good day and 1 am on a long day. 

What motivates you to excel in each of your activities, and how do they compliment each other in your personal and academic growth? The thing that has always motivated me in both extracurriculars is, first off, friends. Being able to go to an environment where I can completely be myself and surrounded by fun and competitive people, it’s something I always look forward to. As well, just winning motivates me. Whether that is getting scored really well in a Mock Trial tournament and getting a best witness or best attorney medal. Or in track, getting a medal. Winning and getting rewarded for it always feels incredibly good and keeps me coming back for more. 

Can you share a particularly memorable moment or experience from your involvement in track, or Mock Trial? For Mock Trial, it was the first time I competed and received both a best witness and best attorney award. What was so surprising is that I was doubting myself so much that day and those medals really motivated me to believe in myself. For track, it was the first ever time I ran the 400m. I was so scared that I was shaking and threw up. My favorite coach came up to me and gave me a pep talk and told me that although I’m so scared it really shows how much I care and that I’ll do well because running is all mental.

How do you think participating in Mock Trial has influenced your perspective on teamwork and leadership, compared to your experiences in track? I usually am a pretty independent person, but for Mock Trial the only way to win is if you’re collaborating with your teammate, whether that means you’re helping someone with objections at counsel tables, being in charge of exhibits or just motivating co-counselor after they did badly in their speech. As for leadership, I was co-captain of VJ and I never really saw myself as a leader but being in charge of people for a while was a learning experience. For track, your teammates are the ones who cheer you on when someones about to beat you and uplift you after a bad race. Both extracurriculars have shown me the importance of others and being in a close and loving community. As well for leadership, as an upperclassmen the underclassmen look up to us and I always personally make sure to set a good example.

What challenges have you faced while juggling your academic, athletic, and extracurricular commitments, and how have you overcome them? At times it’s hard to find the energy or motivation to do my homework when I come back home. But I always like to remind myself, where I could possibly be in the next ten years and that is what always keeps me going.

Outside of your school activities, what are some of your other interests or hobbies? Outside of school I still play soccer for fun, bike, and occasionally just crochet clothes when I’m bored. But other than those I’m big on hanging out with my friends really often. 

How do you envision your involvement in track, and Mock Trial shaping your future career or academic path? The main reason I joined Mock Trial is because I wanted to see what the legal field would possibly look like and if I’d feel comfortable being surrounded by lawyers and attorneys. Mock Trial has changed my life and I have no idea who I could’ve been without it. Track is something I’ve always done to keep in shape, but in college I most likely will continue and do club track.  

Who or what inspires you the most, and how does that inspiration drive your pursuits in school and beyond? It’s pretty cheesy but my mom has always been my idol. Although she’s never done track or Mock Trial, she is the hardest worker I know. She takes care of me and my brother by herself and still finds a way to have energy to be the happiest and funniest person I know. I strive to be that hard working and resilient. 

 As a senior, reflecting on your high school journey, what advice would you give to younger students who want to get involved in extracurricular activities like track or Mock Trial? I would tell myself to put less pressure on myself. I know times after practice I would have mental breakdown thinking I’m not enough just because of the smallest mistake or I didn’t PR by a millisecond. I wish I was nicer to myself and didn’t pressure myself so much. But for younger kids, join clubs and sports! The friendships you make along the way will last for so long. As well, the people who I have met through extracurricular always make me laugh to the point I pee a little. 

How do you prioritize self-care and mental well-being amidst your busy schedule and commitments? I don’t usually have much free time during the week. But I always make sure to take a mental health day, where I don’t respond to peoples texts, don’t do homework and just take a rest from my usual busy schedule.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations beyond high school, and how do you plan to continue pursuing your passions and interests? The plan is to go to a good college that is preferably in Illinois, because college is expensive out of state. Then I would major in Criminal Justice in the field of Legal Studies in a Pre-Law program. As well I will probably continue doing Mock Trial in college if I have time. 

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About the Contributor
Gabby Mattison
Gabby Mattison, Reporter
Gabby is a senior at Niles North and this is her first year in North Star News. In her free time she likes to learn new things, watching new shows/movies, and spending time with her nephews/nieces.

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