I hate to admit this, but it has been 20 years since I graduated high school. Even though it has been 20 years, I still recall the excitement, and nerves, of preparing to start at NDSU in the Fall of 1997. Of course, a big part of my worry was money. I was fortunate to have parents who helped me out a lot, but I also worked and took out student loans. As with most college students, writing my portion of the $35 power bill at the apartment each month was sometimes touch and go (and I had two roommates). To help defray the cost of college for upcoming freshmen who plan on working in some capacity in the legal system, SW&L Attorneys will be awarding two $500 scholarships. But first, let me bore you a little with my story.
I was born and raised in Cooperstown, North Dakota. My Dad owned the grocery store in Cooperstown since before I was born, and I was the only son in the family. As such, I think it was always assumed by everyone that I would just take over the grocery store. While I liked Cooperstown and the grocery business, I always felt there was something else I would like to do for work, I just didn’t know what.
Then came my Junior year in High School at Griggs County Central. While all of the teachers had a tremendous impact on my education (and had to put up with my rebellious nature), one teacher in particular changed the course of my life forever. Dan Stutlien (who is now a Superintendent at Harvey) taught high school government. As part of his class, we did an exercise in each branch of government: (1) conducted an election for President, (2) passed legislation as Congress, and (3) held a mock trial.
The trial is what changed my thoughts on what I wanted to do the rest of my life. I was selected as one of four trial counsel, and while I am sure my performance was far from stellar, Mr. Stutlien told my Dad at parent-teacher conferences he felt I would be a good lawyer. I still remember my Dad coming home to tell me this. That was all it took, someone believed I could do it, and I knew how much I loved the adrenaline that came with playing a trial lawyer in the mock trial. I made my mind up at that time, I was going to be a lawyer. Twenty plus years later, and I still think about that one thing Mr. Stutlien did that set me free to pursue a dream I would have likely never pursued on my own. Thanks again Mr. Stutlien!
Now that you have heard my story, we would love to hear yours. We will give away two $500 scholarships to high school seniors (2017 graduates) who plan on working in the legal profession in some capacity (lawyer, paralegal, police officer, probation officer, social worker, etc.). First, we want to know what it is that makes you want to do what you are planning to study to do.
If you are interested in applying for the SW&L scholarships, please submit a resume, high school transcript, and a statement telling us about your story. Applications are due on or before Friday, July 14, 2017, and can be submitted via mail to SW&L Attorneys, 4627 44th Ave. S., Ste. 108, Fargo, ND 58104. We look forward to reading everyone’s story, and wish all the recent graduates (regardless of their plans for the future) the best of luck in paving your own path!