A Wylie High School senior drew her way to a national title over the weekend at the national mock trial competition in Reno.
Molly Wu, 18, first won first place in a state courtroom sketch competition earlier this year. She then competed against 10 other sketch artists from around the country to win first place in the national competion.
Although she draws every chance she gets, 20 to 30 hours a week, Wu said she has no formal art training.
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She fell into mock trial last year when her English teacher and mock trial coach Cindy Anderson started asking who among her classes could draw.
"I said I needed someone to do this drawing and is anybody interested? She's very quiet and very reticent and she said, 'I think I might could do that.' So I said, 'Well, why don't we see what you can do?' and I was blown away," said Cindy Anderson.
The duo relied on Google along with other research to learn what a courtroom sketch should look like.
"There are a lot of resources on the Internet, so you really don't have to take classes to become an artist," said Wu.
That was Wu's junior year. One year later, she was blown away to win the regional title.
"I was really surprised because last year I didn't place at all, so getting first place was like, 'Wow.' How did that happen?" said Wu.
Then in the state competition in March, Wu won again.
"When they called her name it was just thrilling. You know I'm not a crier, but I wanted to cry because I felt like 'that's my kid.' She's first place in the entire state of Texas," said Anderson.
Now Wu's spending her time practicing for the national competition. Although with graduation and five AP exams to prepare for, it's not as much time as she might like. Still her coach feels good.
"We're going to do our best. We're going to go out there and try to win a national trophy. I think that would be a first here at Wylie High School," said Anderson.
Wu said she intends to use the same tactic that won her the state competition, including a piece of evidence into the sketch.
"For the competition it's best to draw 'wow' moments where there's a lot of action or interesting things going on," said Wu.
Despite her success, Wu said she plans to keep art as a hobby rather than a career when she graduates in May. Instead, she'll study biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.