1st Quarter, 2009
Law Enforcement Scholarship
Grace Sun is currently a freshman at Harvard University where she plans to concentrate in Social Studies. She is the Corporate Mentorship Co-Chair for Women in Business, a photographer for The Crimson and The Voice, and an actor for The Freshman Musical and The Heidi Chronicles.
A Portion of Grace’s Winning Essay:
“Justice is truth in action.” – Benjamin Disraeli
My mom tells me that one of the first sentences I spoke was , “That’s not fair!” Yes, I believe in fairness and justice, and I have therefore become passionate about a legal career. I believe that law and justice are the cornerstones of our democracy,and that attorneys are indispensable to a proper functioning of the law.
Ever since middle school, I have participated in speech and debate. My middle school debate team won three consecutive National Championship titles, and I was proud to be a key member of the team. During high school, I competed as a Student Congress delegate and received honors at local, state and national levels.
Writing and delivering speeches concerning U.S. domestic and international policies has given me the opportunity to analyze all sides of every issue – the liberal and the conservative, the cynical and idealistic – and to evolve, synthesize and form my own opinions. My experiences with debate opened my eyes to the different facets of every question, and ignited my interest in laws and policies. During the 2006 Midterm Elections, I learned that my middle school debate coach planned to run for Congress. Mr. Henley has been an intellectually formative influence in my life in many ways, so I was excited and eager to give him as much support as possible in his race.
My first thought was to try and build support for him in the school’s Democratic club, only to find that one did not exist at Bellaire High. On one level, this was not a shock; Texas generally, and the City of Bellaire especially, tend to be conservative and Republican. The surprise came when I tried to form a Bellaire Young Democrats Club, and I was told that this would not be permitted. The reason simply was that “politics does not have a place in high school.” The logic totally escaped me. I always thought that school was supposed to teach us many things, both explicit and implicit. I assumed that good citizenship ,¨ participatory, informed, concerned, thoughtful citizenship ¨, would be among those things.
I tried to meet with the school leadership and make my case, but they would not hear me. I got teachers to write letters of sponsorship for me, still to no avail. There were many students who also wanted this club, and they began to talk to their parents about it. Little by little, a groundswell began to form, and the principal finally agreed to hear a small group of us at a meeting in his office. The meeting was calm and pleasant, but there was palpable tension. Nonetheless, we were given a chance to make our point. After the principal and other school officials had a chance to meet and further discuss it, we were finally given permission to form our club.
We now have weekly meetings averaging 60 attendees (the highest of any club in the school), speak with candidates from both parties on their views concerning various issues, discuss political races, and organize volunteers for campaigns. I found this experience to be very exciting. I had challenged this microcosmic part of the system, and successfully worked within it to change it. I see this as part of what an attorney does: using the system as it exists to correct injustices and accomplish legitimate goals. With that success to encourage me, I found a new goal. There are many young people who have not developed an interest in politics, either because they feel they have no power, or because they think it does not affect their lives. Some simply do not know where or how to begin.