“I am lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in the justice education programs and I would not hesitate to recommend it to other high school students.”
While she was a student at Cathedral High School in Hamilton, Sarah Daly had the opportunity to participate in a variety of OJEN’s school-based programs through her grades 11 and 12 law classes. Reflecting on the significance of these experiences, she recalls that they were a lot of fun, helped her develop practical life skills and piqued her interest in a career in law. After graduating from high school, Sarah chose to attend the University of Ottawa where she is pursuing a Bachelors of Social Sciences with a Specialization in Criminology and a Minor in Social Work. We asked Sarah to tell us about her experience with her high school justice education activities and the direction she has taken since then.
What justice education activities were you involved with in high school?
In high school, I had the privilege of participating in many different justice education activities including the Trailblazers: Women in Law Day in Toronto, the Twitter Moot and Experiential Mock Trial with HJEN and a Competitive Mock Trial with OJEN. I was also fortunate enough to have done a Co-op placement with the Crown Attorney’s Office at the John Sopinka Courthouse in Hamilton. I can surely say that all of these opportunities were made possible because of my law teacher, Ms. Valeri-Tortis.
What have you done since graduating from high school?
After high school, I decided to go to the University of Ottawa for their French Immersion Criminology program. French was always something I was interested in and Ottawa was able to offer me the Criminology Major I wanted with the French aspect that I desired. Since then, I’ve transferred into the French Stream for this program, taking a Bachelors of Social Sciences with a Specialization in Criminology and a Minor in Social Work.
Before the pandemic, I was involved with the University of Ottawa’s Peer Help Center where I worked as a Mentor to a high school student, unfortunately that was cut short due to COVID-19. I have also been fortunate enough to be employed by the Human Resources Department at the Senate of Canada during the school year. This past November marked a year since I began working there and I recently earned a promotion to a Junior HR Operations Specialist. It is an amazing opportunity that I am able to partake in.
During the summer of 2021, I worked at Weisz, Rocchi and Scholes, a Hamilton-based law firm, working closely under Thomas J. Rocchi as a Student Administrative Assistant. During this employment, I was able to work within the world of Corporate Law and was given many hands-on learning opportunities that I am very grateful for.
Otherwise, I participate in my school’s Intramural Basketball Program and I spend time with friends in my free time, but most of my time is spent working or studying for classes. I also recently just became a Student Ambassador for the University of Ottawa.
What value did you find in participating in justice education programs?
It is extremely rare for high school students to be given an experiential learning opportunity for a job field that requires graduate school. All of the opportunities that I was able to have during my time in high school not only piqued my interest in law but also gave me the chance to analyze both the positive and the negative that came from being an attorney in Canada. It was not only the heart-racing moments on the stand when I was cross examining the accused, but it was the late nights at home, calling with my friends who were also involved in the case and discussing other possible angles we could take in the case. I believe that science and math routes are always heavily favored when it comes to experiential learning opportunities, so I was very grateful to have had multiple experiences participating in this field as a high school student. The programs offered teach the students an advantageous number of skills while also remaining fun and intriguing, which is one of the reasons I loved participating in them. In short, I am lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in the justice education programs and I would not hesitate to recommend it to other high school students.