Henry Mann recently received a Student Award of Excellence and is known around the school for his participation and leadership roles in clubs such as Model UN and Mock Trial. Naturally, Raider Weekly conducted an interview to better get to know him.
Henry, you recently won the Student Award of Excellence. What do you think contributed to that?
I think that some of it would have been that I’ve tried to be involved throughout all my years in high school. Starting in grade 9 I ran and was elected to Student Council and then in grade 10 I continued in that role as well as being in Model UN. At the same time, I would kind of do a variety of things. I tried out for curling one year, I remember, Relay for Life and then I moved on to Model UN and Mock Trial. So I think it was just those different involvements and the fact that I really tried to engage myself in a leadership role in the grade and in the school.
Why was it important for you to be so involved?
I saw the school and I knew that I would be spending four years here and thought: while I’m here I should try and make a contribution. As a student, I didn’t want my involvement to just be academics – getting marks and then going home. I wanted to make a contribution and to be able to say that at the end of my career I tried to make this a better place for the other students around me. At the same time, a lot of those things that I did were of personal interest to me and I wanted to help develop my skills in those areas.
Do you think you have succeeded in making this a better place for other students?
I think I have. Especially with my work with Model UN. We had more than 50 applicants this year and although we weren’t able to take them all, that shows that there is interest in that opportunity and there is potential to move it forward. I think […] that I have helped to build up the extracurricular involvement in the school and reach more students to ensure that their high school experience is fulfilling and rewarding.
You are now in grade 12, what are your plans for next year?
So, I’m gonna go to the University of Ottawa. I’ll be taking a Bachelor of Social Sciences, Honours in Political Science with French immersion. After that, probably law school.
What is your end goal?
At the end of it, I hope to probably become a crown attorney or a labour lawyer… Maybe elected politics but I don’t talk about that too much [laughs] because it’s a far-off thing. I think my overall goal in life would be to make a contribution, similar to what I’ve been trying to do here but on a larger scale. I see that there are a lot of problems in the world – issues like climate change but also quite local issues – access to the justice system is one that I am particularly concerned about. At the end of it, if I can say that I’ve made a contribution, an identifiable contribution, whether that be in a [law] career or in elected politics, to those issues then that will be the fulfilment of that goal.
Is that a dream you’ve had throughout your whole life, or is it something you came upon recently?
I wouldn’t say it is a dream I’ve had throughout my whole life. When I was in elementary school, a lot of the time I didn’t really think about the world around me. I was mostly focused on, you know, dinosaurs and palaeontology and science and things like that.
I would say that I went through a transformation when I got into high school. I realized that the world was so much bigger and that there was a better way to spend my time and use my talents. At the same time, I was more interested in publicity, public speaking and leadership roles. So I would say that it is something fairly recent, but still something I am committed to.
Do you have any advice for people just starting out their high school journey?
I would say to them that it is easy to be nervous. I myself was nervous. It’s important to go ahead and try. Make sure you just show up. It’s amazing how I’ve gone into things expecting it to be hard or difficult to break through when it’s actually been pretty easy. And the reason for that is that not everyone else shows up. There’s an old saying that goes: ‘Decisions are made by those who show up’ and I think that’s true. I think that it’s important that you go to those meetings, you show up to those practices and that wherever you are, you try and involve yourself consistently. In that way, you can work your way up and achieve your goals, whatever they may be.