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Jazz Girard

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How Going to Law School Prepared Me for High School

Posted: 10/21/11 10:23 AM ET

This summer, while all of my friends were relaxing in the sun and vacationing with their families, I was busy attending Fordham Law School as a part of a summer program called Legal Outreach. Although it may sound a bit superfluous to be taking such a big step before entering high school, it honestly was a great opportunity for me to be exposed to a whole new field that could be considered as a choice for my future.

Legal Outreach is a program that prepares students in inter-city areas of New York City to rise to their full potential by teaching them critical thinking, writing, and studying skills that will prepare them for a promising high school career, as well as opening their eyes to the legal field as a credible and trustworthy life option. Hearing all of this for the first time in middle school, I must admit I was intimidated. I mean, I was just a kid. I wasn't ready to be considering my future all that hastily. However, my doubt was soon overpowered by my strong curiosity to see what this program really had to offer.

Legal Outreach has this theory, that in order to be a professional and to be considered a professional, you have to act like a professional and dress like a professional. I would walk in to class in the morning every day wearing the most professional attire I could possibly imagine wearing at such a young age. Such an unaccustomed idea, to walk around dressed like an adult, going to a place where adults work.

Every morning of Legal Outreach was the same. The first thing we would do is have a guest speaker come to our class and tell us about their life. It was like career day for lawyers. We had all of these amazing people come in, including judge Denny Chin, who was the judge for the Bernard Madoff trial. Following that we would go to criminal justice followed by criminal trials. To end the week at Legal Outreach, the class would go on a field trip to law firms and court houses as an opportunity to see the type of environment lawyers work at. Going to these respectable places really gave me an insight on what type of life I would be living as a lawyer.

Now I am entering high school at the New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies. Moving on into high school after spending five weeks preparing is definitely going to make the transition a lot easier and will extend my knowledge of the topics I will be discussing. Going to a school like the NYC Lab School, one has to learn to understand that there will be challenges, because it is such a competitive environment to be in. I do, however, feel like I have grown a tremendous amount during the course of the five weeks I spent at Legal Outreach, and I am fully prepared to bring all of that to a new school in order to succeed.

I was recently accepted into the second stage of the Legal Outreach program which is College Bound, where they essentially work with me over the course of the next four years of high school with my school and homework, SAT prep, and looking at college choices. For the next four years of high school, I will be working around the clock to get into one of the top 50 colleges and universities in the nation, and I will remember those five miraculous weeks I spent in law school before entering the ninth grade, and as I go on into my high school years, I will remember these accountability pledges as a part of Legal Outreach.

  • I will dream deep, because dreams are the blueprints of my ultimate accomplishments.
  • I will remain focused, on achieving my vision of greatness, because no life grows great unless it is dedicated and disciplined.
  • I will always prepare, because all spectacular achievements are preceded by unspectacular preparation.
  • I will sacrifice to achieve my goals, because I understand that short-term gain leads to long-term pain, and short-term pain leads to long-term gain.
  • I will exercise self-respect, because I refuse to do anything to compromise my vision for the future.
  • I will respect others, because we are all the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.
  • I will share myself with others, because it is far more blessed to give than to receive.
  • I will listen to my Legal Outreach elders, because with age comes wisdom.
  • I will serve others, because I understand that when I lift others up, I also rise.
  • I will strive for excellence in all I do, because there are no prizes rewarded for average performance.
  • If I fall seven times, I will stand up eight, because perseverance is the touchstone of great character.
  • I will have no excuses- none will be needed, because mountains of obstacles will melt before my inspired soul, resolute mind, and unconquerable spirit.

www.legloutreach.org

Even though I am extremely excited to be embarking on these sophisticated academic endeavors over the summer, I still have to get through going clothing shopping with my mother this week in preparation for school. Agreeing with my mom in regards to fashion, that's a whole other challenge. Stay tuned.