By ANEESAH AKBAR
Tristan Malhotra (Sr.) was recently awarded the Outstanding Orator of the Year Award from the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association following the culmination of the 2015-2016 Mock Trial season. He said, “Winning the award always seemed like an unattainable dream to me. I always knew I wanted to be an attorney, but I never thought I would be able to establish myself as the top orator in the county.”
The Outstanding Orator of the Year Award is awarded to the top Orange County Mock Trial participant based on the number of nominations by scoring attorneys and judges as well as overall scores in the competition. It is given to one person per year in the county, and Malhotra is the first person at UHS to win the award.
Malhotra has been a part of Mock Trial since his sophomore year. This year, he is president of the club and landed the team captain position. He said, “Mock Trial has been a unique intellectual experience for me. Even with a limited body of evidence, I found myself constantly thinking of new and creative ways to spin the evidence to argue my case… It was a never-ending search for the perfect argument.”
Of the last three years, Malhotra’s favorite moment was when UHS Mock Trial beat its rivals, El Dorado High School, after losing to them in single-elimination playoffs two years in a row. “I delivered probably the best closing argument of my time in Mock Trial because I was so determined to win and even took their theme and turned it completely around against them. It just felt great to finally beat their team,” he said.
Receiving the award “felt like I had finally gotten all of my dreams and hopes validated,” he said. “The courtroom is truly where I belong.”
As this year’s season draws to a close, many Mock Trial members will be graduating and replaced by new members for next year’s season. Malhotra said, “My main pitch for Mock Trial would be that there is a place for everyone. If you thrive in a competitive atmosphere in general, Mock Trial is the place for you. [It] was the highlight of my high school career and I really want as many people as possible to enjoy it the way I did.”
On encouraging people to join the club next year, he said, “I would say the most important thing for newcomers is to listen to those more experienced than you, but to also not be afraid to point out when they could be mistaken. It is constantly a learning process for everyone on the team, no matter how experienced.”