Viewpoint School Spotlight: Darya Podeh (’24)

Naomi Engle

The Patriot aims to acknowledge the contributions of talented students and faculty in our new Viewpoint Spotlight series.  If you believe you or your organization has made an impact on our community, contact a Patriot staff member.

This Spotlight falls on Darya Podeh (‘24), who’s looking to make her mark as this year’s president of the mock trial club.  The Patriot spoke to her on Friday.

The Patriot: I hear you won a national award, that’s pretty exciting.

Podeh: Thank you, yes I did.  It was a national mock trial leadership award, and I thought that hey, since I am making the clubs basically singlehandledly, with the help of Lena Schulze (‘23), and I’m kind of working on mock trial almost 24/7, I thought I might have a shot at winning.  And I did so…pleasantly surprised. 

Congratulations.  Why mock trial?  What called you to revive the team?

I want to be a lawyer when I am older, and mock trial has always been a program at Viewpoint that I thought could help shape me into a person more adequately qualified for studying law.  So when I heard that mock trial would no longer be a program at Viewpoint, I thought that maybe, if it functioned as a club for one year, we could effectively convince the administration to bring it back as a class for my senior year and after I graduate.

Tell me about some of those changes you’re making to the team.

Well, we’re having auditions currently that are gonna be complete by Thursday (10/6).  Right now, the main thing is actually getting enough people to form our team.  (laughs) We need 16 people and we currently have… about 13, 12, depending on the decision that someone makes. So, I’m looking for some more people, but, that is the primary task currently.

You’ve also been on the debate team, and those two are quite similar.  Do you think this field is what you really want to study?

Yeah, exactly.  I feel like debate and mock trial have significant overlaps in the way that you have to act what you research and study.  I feel like that’s definitely the type of critical thinking I wanna pursue.

Outside of mock trial and debate, what hopes do you have for the school year?

My general hope is just that, not to fail academically, I suppose. (laughs) Junior year is supposed to be very tough, and I’m experiencing the brunt of it already, so I’m trying not to get drowned in coursework.

What do you want to say to people who are reading this and are interested in mock trial?

I think that, first of all if you’re interested and you don’t know where to start, email me, contact me, stalk me, anything.  Just reach out to me with any questions.  I’v ebeen telling everybody I’m completely open to talking outside of classes, school time, anything to help you make your decision about whether or not mock trial is right for you.  But generally, mock trial has something for everyone.  If you’re a debater, if you’re an actor, anything.  If you just have a professional curiosity, even in that sense, mock trial’s the place for you.

That’s all the questions I have for you.  I think we’re covered here, unless there’s anything you want to add.

Yeah, I think that’s it!

Thank you so much, it was great speaking with you.

Thank you.