STCL Houston Hosts “Discover Law Day” for Underrepresented High School Students
Nearly fifty underrepresented students from Victory Early College High School and Carl Wunsche Senior High School experienced “A Day in the Life of a Law Student” recently at South Texas College of Law Houston’s (STCL Houston) “Discover Law Day,” hosted by the law school’s Hispanic Law Students Association (HLSA) chapter and sponsored by the Law School Admissions Council.
HLSA members at STCL Houston — in collaboration with the school’s Admissions Office — treated the high school students to a full day of mentoring, networking, class simulations, and a roundtable discussion with practicing Houston attorneys and members of the Mexican-American Bar Association of Houston (MABAH).
The law school organized Discover Law Day to inform students from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds about the importance of higher education, the steps they can take while in high school to achieve future education goals, and the opportunities afforded to law school graduates. Event organizers encouraged the students to visit LSAC’s website — www.discoverlaw.org — to learn about special resources for minority students considering law school.
STCL Houston President and Dean Michael F. Barry welcomed the visiting students to campus and shared the many benefits of earning a law degree. “It is never too early to think about a career in law,” he told the students. “Think now about leadership opportunities you can take, student organizations you can join, and commit to your studies — this is the excellent foundation that will help you reach your future career goals.”
Barry shared that much of the positive change needed in the world is accomplished by lawyers, and he told the students, “We are counting on you to make this country and world a better place — take up the challenge!”
Lykethia M. Collins, pre-law and forensic science teacher at Carl Wunsche Senior High School, and Tiffany B. Atkins, career and technology instructor at Victory Early College High School, helped to organize Discover Law Day 2019 for the students.
“We are truly grateful for the opportunity afforded us by South Texas College of Law Houston,” said Collins. “Discover Law Day has exposed our students to law school admissions and requirements and gives them a better perspective of what law school entails. The mock lecture on torts was very interesting and provided great knowledge to our students. This has been an excellent learning opportunity.”
After a “meet and greet” session with HLSA members, the students divided into two groups to experience an interactive, simulation law school class taught by STCL Houston Professors Bruce McGovern and Olga Moya. Following the class, the students took advantage of the opportunity to ask the professors questions about law school and the field of law.
During a one-on-one lunch with HLSA mentors, MABAH members, and visiting law school alumni, the students learned from seasoned attorneys about the varied role of lawyers in the community. The attorneys took questions from the students and echoed the dean’s encouragement to continue their education.
“The opportunity to study law is a privilege regardless of a person’s background or their perseverance in spite of adversity,” said Jeanetly Garcia, president of the HLSA chapter at STCL Houston. “As a daughter of resilient immigrant parents, it was an honor to host and mentor students who, like me, will be the first in their families to graduate college and aspire to make a positive impact in our community. I believe that exposure of the need for diverse and inclusive representation in the legal profession is critical, and this STCL Houston Discover Law Day served as a great source of encouragement for the participating high school students to continue pursuing their career goals in that direction.”
The students concluded Discover Law Day with a tour of STCL Houston — Houston’s 96-year-old institution in the heart of downtown.
“As a Mexican-American who already has faced adversities, I see a need for more minorities in the field of law,” said Zitlali Valdez, a student at Victory Early College High School who attended Discover Law Day 2019. “After facing the deportation of my father from the United States, I want to become an immigration attorney to help other families like mine in the future.”