Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Student Interview: Creating the Culture of Unity at Franklin
    Posted on 06/22/2018
    Franklin Mock Trail Team pose for a photo together

    Student Interview: Creating the Culture of Unity at Franklin

    Mock trial students at Franklin High became national champions in May at the 2018 Mock Trial National Championship in Reno, Nevada. The only two schools in the state of Washington to claim that title have been Franklin High in 2018 and 2000 and Seattle Prep in 2014.

    We caught up with seven of the 10 members of the superstar team after their victory in the room they’d practiced in for months leading up to their competition to talk mock trial, the ”magic of Franklin High” and the power of positive adult-student relationships.

    Let’s talk mock trial. How has your participation in this team impacted your experience in high school?

    Angel Hill: When I first came to Franklin, I was very disconnected. When somebody mentioned mock trial and walked into [Mock Trial Coach Don] Eaton’s classroom, I felt a sense of community just walking into it. People were so welcoming and so sweet to me. I really have found myself in mock trial. I was really in my shell, and going to these shows and performing brought out a part of me that I’d been wanting to see my whole life.

    Zoe McGough: Being a part of team like mock trial allows you to soak up all the differences that we all have as students.

    Ebany Sura: To be the team that wins it feels so deep. When you get instilled by society that you’re never going to be good enough, when you finally do win it’s a crazy moment. For African girls, it makes me happy they can see me and Ahlam [Nur], and they’re like, “Ooh wow, it’s [mock trial] not only for white kids. I can do this too!”

    Ahlam Nur: I love the Franklin community, not only current students, but those that were here a long time ago. They’re always involved and giving other support in any way they possibly can. We probably wouldn’t have been able to make it to nationals had they not helped us. Any time we need help, our alumni and our community itself pitch in to support us. They came to nationals in Reno for us! Our win was not just our win, it was everyone’s win.

    Ashleen Nair: If alumni from how many years ago are coming back, that just explains how much this school means to them.

    It seems like your school environment has created a tight-knit community for students and alumni. What do you feel has contributed to the inclusivity and welcoming environments in your school?

    Nicole Perry: There’s so many different types of people that are at Franklin compared to other schools. We have so many people from different backgrounds and stories.

    Nur: When I came to Franklin, I saw the Somali community here, and they’re all prideful! I see everyone representing themselves in who they truly are. I can be like, “YES, I’m Somali!”

    Sura: If we have a problem, everyone works together to solve it. In the beginning of the year, when we were trying to figure out prom to make it not during Ramadan, everyone was working together to find a solution.

    Nur: There are Muslim students, and they want to enjoy their prom and not have to be fasting at prom. We were one of the only schools that moved our prom to an earlier date to accommodate students, which shows what kind of community we have.

    Can you elaborate on structures that were put in place to encourage your school’s community building?

    Nair: In ninth grade, we have a transitional program. Seniors and juniors help ninth graders transition from eighth grade in coming into Franklin.

    Nur: When I came here, I knew no one besides my cousins. The link crew groups create this specific group of kids where you all work together for two days, and those were the first friends I made.

    Perry: The link crew leaders remember your name! That extra effort of “I recognize you” means so much. That feeling of “Oh that’s an upperclassman, I can’t talk to them,” is eased away.

    McGough: My junior crew leader, every time she sees me in the hallway she says, “Hi.” After all the years, she still checks in with me. That makes me so happy that there’s not only teachers but upper classmen that make me feel welcome.

    Speaking of teachers, can you share how you’ve witnessed adults in the building foster academic success and resiliency?

    McGough: I know at least one admin and at least one teacher I can go to if I have a concern or if I feel like something is unfair, and I know those teachers will listen.

    Nair: Yeah, all of my teachers are definitely my friends. Now, they don’t want to be called that, but they are. They are just amazing. They know when you’re upset. In ninth grade, my teacher noticed something was off with me. He checked on me, and it was breath of fresh air getting that support. He helped me through what I was going through. The fact that he asked me what I was going through is amazing.

    Patz: I appreciated that our teachers were real with us and welcoming but put high expectations on us.

    Nair: They push us to the expectations they know we can reach. Just today, one of the security guards asked me why I wasn’t doing so well in a particular class and told me he would keep checking in to make sure my grades were getting up. It’s amazing, the fact that he takes his time out of day to say “Hey, get your work done!”

    Challenge time. Before we conclude the interview, can everyone share three words that express how you feel about Franklin High School?

    Sura: Family. Fun. Different.

    Nur: Family. Fun. Bright.

    Hill: Passion. Unity. Strength.

    Nair: Inclusive. Engaging. Environment.

    McGough: Inclusive. Engaging. Environment.

    Perry: Welcoming. Uplifting. Beautiful.

    Patz: Challenging. Rewarding. Love.

    Franklin High School’s mission is to graduate students who have achieved academic excellence and who look forward to sharing their expertise, understanding and compassion to create an increasingly peaceful and productive society. Congratulations to the Mock Trial National championship team, and congratulations to the Franklin staff and alumni who have created a culture of collaboration, community and high expectations – supporting students now and long after they’ve left the halls of Franklin High School.



    *Photo courtesy of Mock Trial Coach, Don Eaton