It Takes A Village: The 2013 High School Pipeline Program
Marian Cover Dockery
Originally published in the August 2013 edition of the Georgia Bar Journal
It takes a village to raise a child. Close to 100 volunteers gave their time, talents and resources to make the sixth annual Pipeline Program a success.
From May 28–June 7, 16 high school students from the metro-Atlanta area met at Atlanta’s John Marshall School of Law to study grammar, writing and speech. Pierce Hand of the Teach for America Corps taught grammar and writing. Attorneys taught the speech classes and volunteered 90 minutes or more to evaluate students and help them improve their presentation skills. Georgia Diversity Program law firms and corporate law offices hosted students for lunch and mentoring on various topics including study skills, maintaining good credit, social media etiquette and dining room etiquette. The CEO of the Atlanta History Museum, Sheffield Hale, also led students on a tour of the Atlanta History Museum’s exhibit on slavery.
The State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program, Atlanta’s John Marshall School of Law and The Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys, Inc., formed a partnership to fund the annual program.
The students participated in an annual oral and written competition hosted by Sutherland. Monetary awards were presented to the first, second and third place winners, and this year’s graduating senior. This year’s first place winner: Amber Johnson, a junior at Westlake High School; second place: Kara Wise, Riverwood International Charter School; and third place: Baili Wise, also a junior at Riverwood.
Diana Xu, a third year Pipeline student and graduate of Milton High School received a scholarship to the University of Southern California’s business program in the fall. Diana aspires to be a lawyer. Her comments about the program are as follows:
Pipeline is an amazing program and I have learned so much about speech, writing and grammar. . . . It has also taught me a lot about the importance of law and how to behave in a professional environment. I would like to thank all the teachers and volunteers who have participated in this program, as they have helped me so much!
More than 100 students have benefited from the Pipeline Program since its inception six years ago. High school students from all over Georgia and one from Illinois have participated in the grammar, writing and speech instruction taught by certified teachers including members of the Teach for America Corps and volunteer attorneys in Atlanta.
Scholarship funds for graduating students and prize money for winners of the oral and written competition have totaled more than $7,000 through the donations of the State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program and the Leadership Institute for Women of Color Attorneys, Inc.
As the program continues, we are tracking our Pipeline graduates who are students at Vanderbilt University, the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and the University of Southern California, Berkeley.
Whether these students pursue a law degree is yet to be determined, but we realize the exposure of these students to the legal profession has provided each with an invaluable experience that will benefit them in whatever profession they pursue.
Thank you to the law firms and corporations’ general counsel, partners, associates, summer associates, law professors, inhouse counsel, businesspersons, paralegals and administrators who volunteered as speech instructors, mentors and speakers, or provided administrative support to ensure the success of this year’s program. A complete list of the volunteers may be found below.
Marian Cover Dockery is an employment discrimination attorney and the executive director of the State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program. For more information on the Diversity Program, go to www.gabar.org.