Class of 2014: Mariah Slocum sets her sights on law career
This is the second story in a four-part series profiling graduating seniors at Worthington High School. The next story will run in April.
WORTHINGTON — Other graduating seniors at Worthington High School may have some uncertainty about their future career paths. Not Mariah Slocum. Mariah knows exactly what she wants to be when she "grows up" — a lawyer.
“It might have started with my parents joking with me that I’d make a great lawyer,” she said with a laugh.
Mariah is an only child, the daughter of Jim and Amy Slocum of Reading. Her dad operates Slocum’s Tru-Life Taxidermy, and her mom is employed as office manager for Schaap Sanitation.
She’s lived in Reading all her life and always attended the Worthington schools. For the last two years, however, Mariah has spent very little time in the halls of Worthington High School, taking advantage of the Post Secondary Enrollment Option offered through Minnesota West Community and Technical College.
“I’ve been full-time at the college for two years,” Mariah explained. “I will graduate high school and college at the same time, with a two-year degree. I like it out at the college. I was ready for it. It’s been a good experience.”
In many ways, Mariah is living a dual life — high school student and college student at the same time. She’s involved in activities on both campuses.
“Last year, I took one class (at WHS) so I could be in FFA,” she noted, “but otherwise I was full-time at the college.”
Through FFA, Mariah has picked up some skills she feels will help toward her career goals.
“I joined FFA because I grew up with the rural lifestyle, and one of my friends wanted to start a Parliamentary Procedure team my sophomore year. I loved it, so I stuck with it.”
In addition to “Parly,” as she calls it, Mariah also participates in FFA Extemporaneous speech. Each speaker draws two topics, selects one, and has 40 minutes to write a speech and present it to the judges. The topics are generally agriculture-related.
“One of my questions was ‘How would you introduce agriculture in urban areas?’” she recalled. “I don’t mind getting up in front of people and talking. FFA is a good learning experience no matter what you do. Parly will help me out a lot, I think, with running meetings and such.”
At WHS, Mariah also joined BPA — Business Professionals of America — with an eye toward her future career.
“Originally I wanted to have a business background going into law,” she said. “Basically, if you have any interest, you can find a competition for it in BPA. It’s a great skill builder for going into any career, really.”
Mariah’s forte is Legal Office Procedures, placing first in the state BPA competition.
“You have to type up different legal documents and know the terminology,” she explained. “I know I'm in the right field, because I loved it.”
Except for one errant A-, Mariah has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her high school career and has been a member of the National Honor Society. While most of her extracurricular activities are related to academics, she also fit in one sporting-related endeavor, albeit on the sidelines. She is student manager for the WHS football team.
“Mr. (Brad) Grimmius asked me to do it my sophomore year,” she said. “I’ve always liked football, so it’s fun to do the stats for it.”
In her managerial role, Mariah also maintains a data base with the players’ jersey and locker numbers; gets the gear on and off the field for games; and does a number of other tasks to help out the coach and players.
“I know all of them, so it’s fun to stand on the sidelines with them,” Mariah said. “I get into it as much as all of them. I’m out there just screaming.”
Since the majority of her time is spent on the Minnesota West campus, it was also natural for Mariah to get involved there.
“I got elected this year to the student senate,” she said. “I didn’t know at first if I could get involved because I was PSEO, but we have a couple of non-traditional students, two PSEO students, and then the average college students. We basically organize activities for students — bingo, at Christmas we serve coffee — and take care of different things around the college.”
As she has an August birthday, Mariah was only 16 years old when she started classes at Minnesota West. Her young age may have surprised some of her instructors, but she’s had no trouble with the course work or fitting in on campus. This year, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa — the two-year college honor society.
With two years of college under her belt, Mariah is ready to move on to a bigger campus, but exactly where is still uncertain. She’s already accepted into the University of Minnesota — one of her top choices — but she’s still holding out hope of getting into her ultimate school.
“I’m waiting on a couple of other schools,” she admitted. “My dream school is Yale. I made it past the first round, and now it’s the luck of the draw, really. The Yale law program is amazing.”
When she first started getting letters and pamphlets from Yale University in Connecticut, she dismissed the possibility, but the more she looked at the materials, the more she fell in love with it, despite how far it is from home and her parents.
“It would be awesome to get in, but hard,” she said. “It would be awesome to go the U of M, too. But I figured I might as well aim high and see what happens."
Another school on Mariah’s list is the University of Chicago —- the No. 4 law school in the country — but that possibility is still up in the air, too. All she’s certain of at this point is that she will be a lawyer when her studies are concluded.
“I’ve always liked public speaking, debate, and the more I studied it, the more I love it,” she said of her chosen profession. “I think I found the career path that suits me.”
As she anxiously awaits those final acceptance or rejection letters that will determine where she heads in the fall, Mariah has plenty to keep her busy. In addition to making the grade for her senior high school year/college sophomore year, she helps her dad out in his business.
“I do a lot of odd jobs — sewing, putting animals on forms,” she said. “Basically, I’m his assistant. I’ve always been into hunting and wildlife, so I don’t mind it. My first word was deer, so I was kind of destined to do it.”
Among her hunting trophies, Mariah has shot two buffalo on the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. She also hunts deer with both bow and slug and is hoping to go on an elk hunt sometime soon.
“I like bow hunting a little more,” she said. “It’s more challenging.”
With graduation from both high school and the two-year college just a little more than a month away, Mariah is ready to tackle all the challenges that lie ahead on the path to her future.
“I’ve had senioritis since my freshman year,” she said with a laugh.
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.