A New Generation of Politicians


Jaylenn Jay-Abe

On Jan. 9, 2023, Mililani High School’s Mock Trial team held a meeting at MHS’s library. Students from the clubs Mock Trial and Model UN, along with history classes and students of AP Government , were able to attend this meeting during their periods 1 – 2 to listen to Senator Donovan Dela Cruz and Representative Amy Perruso. Students were able to get a first-hand perspective on what it takes to start their journey to the politics pathway. 

“The purpose for this meeting was to showcase how legislature and government structure works around Hawaii, as well as opening up students to experiences of these politicians, and to show how they became these representatives and why they do it,” said Mock Trial member sophomore Hubert Yang. 

Senator Dela Cruz, who represents Hawaii in the Senate, and Representative Perruso, who represents the 46th district (Wahiawa) in the Hawaii House of Representatives were the politicians that attended this meeting. Senator Dela Cruz and Representative Perruso were not only able to give students a better insight on their journeys through politics,  but also give them tips like how to improve their public speaking. For example, some students found the execution of the representatives’ speeches rather impressive due to their ability to present with a calm, yet assertive presence. . 

“I think the representatives were there because we were able to see more current problems and the steps they take to fix it because it’s not like you can just say you want to fix something and then change it immediately. You have to go through many steps in order to get there,” said Mock Trial member sophomore Jayci Kawaguchi. 

Senator Dela Cruz and Representative Perruso’s speeches were able to give some of the students a better idea on how to achieve their future careers in politics. Students were able to reflect on this meeting by asking themselves how they can better improve themselves for their future career in the politics pathway. Some students talked about how Senator Dela Cruz took advantage of numerous opportunities to become the Master of Ceremonies throughout his high school career, including becoming the MC of  his senior Lü’au. In return, Senator Dela Cruz gave students their own opportunity to do an internship with him at the Town Hall which could be a start to their own journeys. On the other hand, students were also able to reflect on  how Representative Perruso changed her career so she could make a difference.

“This meeting kinda gives people more of a better perspective or it might give them interest on what jobs they want to do when they’re older. I’m pretty sure Senator Dela Cruz offered us to do an internship at the town hall with me so that was one of the opportunities that could help,” said Mock Trial member sophomore Angelina Russell.

In order to engage students in a more direct interaction with the representatives, they were given the ending portion of the meeting  to ask the speakers anonymous questions. All the students were able to write down a question they were curious about on a notecard and hand it to the representatives. Students found that answering questions this way was easier than raising their hands. Some of the questions that were asked included, “What did you do in high school that helped prepare you for this role?” and “How did you get over your nervousness of public speaking?” 

“Although I’m still searching and uncertain on what I want to do in the future, I think this meeting did inspire me in a way because it helps give me more of an idea on what I want to do. I was also really inspired by how they did their speeches and talks because they were really smooth and they talked really nicely. So it kinda inspired me to make my public speaking skills better,” said Russell.

In the upcoming month of March, MHS’s Mock Trial team will be engaging in a simulation based competition against other schools based on real life cases. These upcoming events occurring around March in the third quarter, MHS’s Mock Trial team will play as defense or prosecution and go against other schools by examining and portraying  real life cases. To learn more about MHS’s Mock Trial team, you can email the club’s advisor Mr. Duncan at [email protected] or message the club  on Instagram at @mililanimocktrial.