Noah Gentry’s passion for environmental law began as a happy accident. Now, he aims to turn it into a career after graduating from Edgewood High School on Thursday.
Gentry, 18, of Edgewood, plans on attending Washington College to earn an undergraduate degree in political science on a full scholarship as a Presidential Fellow and Washington Scholar. After that, he plans to go to law school to specialize in environmental law.
Gentry’s motivation for going into law is to protect the state’s vulnerable waterways from unethical and illegal environmental practices, he said, but he could have taken a different path if he had not joined the mock trial team in freshman year.
He originally wanted to join a meteorology club, but found there was not an interest in it at the school, so he opted for mock trial. The club was at the intersection of his interests, Gentry said — argument and fighting for what he believes in.
“Understanding that Maryland’s economy depends heavily on the fishing industry — which is heavily dependent on the environment — motivates me even further in practicing law within an environmental framework,” he said.
Gentry got a head-start on his aspiration by taking part in the mock trial team and earned a perfect score at his final meet. That is one of his biggest accomplishments, he said — starting as a freshman with no experience and developing his persuasive skills to where they are now.
Though his plan for the future is clear, Gentry will miss the teachers who guided him through high school, not only for their teaching skill, but for their genuine interest in him. He formed close relationships with them and his peers, despite his habit of belting out songs in the middle of class with, admittedly, “sub-par vocal abilities.”
He hopes to hold onto those friendships after high school.
“I felt a sense of belonging at Edgewood primarily because of my teachers’ collective interest in my life beyond the classroom,” he said.
Gentry’s mother Dina said she was proud of her son for the well-rounded person he became through high school. She is proud of the large and the smaller accomplishments — how Gentry was class salutatorian, perhaps his most remarkable feat, she said, but also his athletic games, concerts, mock trial participation and perfect attendance record.
“Whatever path he ultimately chooses in the future, I know he will make a positive difference in the lives of many,” she said.
Walking down the carpet to get his diploma Thursday, and knowing he was accepted on a full ride to his first-choice school, gave Gentry confidence. He looks forward to his next step.
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“It made me feel very accomplished that all the hard work I put into high school wasn’t for naught,” he said with a laugh.