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Tulane Law students of color inspire next generation

April 12, 2016

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Tulane Law students Gary Crosby (L’16, above) and Kelsanah Wade (L ’18, below) talk with sixth-graders at Sylvanie Williams College Prep Charter School in New Orleans about their paths to Tulane and the mechanics of law school.

Photos by Ryan Rivet 


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By Gary Crosby (L '16)

One of the biggest challenges facing students of color from low-income communities is exposure to positive role models.

That was the main reason Krystal Hardy Allen, principal at Sylvanie Williams College Prep Charter School in New Orleans, and I collaborated on bringing African American and Latino students from Tulane Law School to inform and inspire sixth-graders about the possibilities for their future.

Thirteen Tulane students led about 40 eager youngsters from two classes in small-group discussions on April 8, sharing with them our diverse experiences and explaining the mechanics of applying to and attending law school.

I told Tiffany Labrie’s math class about teaching social studies to middle and high school students in New Orleans through Teach For America. Principal Allen and I were colleagues at Teach For America in Alabama before I went to graduate school at the London School of Economics and she moved to New Orleans to become a school administrator. The kids were fascinated to hear that I spent the summer of 2010 as a White House intern. 

“Wow! You worked for President Obama!” one student said. I told them that a law degree can lead them to becoming president of the United States one day like President Obama and President Bill Clinton, who both attended law school before their careers in public service. Teaching and working at the White House inspired me to pursue a legal career.

Other Tulane Law students described their different paths to law school.

First-year student Charles Phipps (L '18), a track and field athlete in college, hopes to pursue a career in sports law.

Monique Arrington (L '17) told the sixth-graders she applied to law school after seeing too many people from her neighborhood going into the criminal justice system without adequate legal representation.  

Robert Waldrup (L '16) talked about attending North Carolina State University and serving eight years in the U.S. Air Force. And Californian Elvia Zepada (L '16), another third-year classmate, told students about her interest in immigration law.

At the end of the small-group discussions, nearly every sixth-grader raised their hand to share what they learned. 

— “I learned that we need great reading skills to succeed in law school.”

— “I learned that lawyers can specialize in criminal law and sports law.” 

— “It takes four years to graduate from college and three years to graduate from law school.”

— “If you don't have a lawyer or can't pay for a lawyer, some lawyers will help you for free — pro bono.”

— “Lawyers help people.”

— “I want to be a lawyer!”

We definitely made a huge impact.

Tulane Law student Gary Crosby (L ’16) graduates in May and is set to start work as an associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York in the fall.

 
   


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