Tag Archives: Emerson Lovell

Emerson Lovell: ABC Grad Earns Historic Law School Honors

Since its founding nearly 20 years ago, A Better Chance of Westport has had many success stories.

Graduates of the program — through which academically gifted, economically disadvantaged and highly motivated young men of color attend Staples High School, live together with house parents on North Avenue, and give back as much to the town as they get — have gone on to top colleges, and careers in law, finance, business, medicine and the non-profit world.

“06880” has joyfully chronicled many of those achievements.

Add Emerson Lovell to that remarkable list.

Yesterday in Washington, DC, the 2012 Staples and 2016 Duke University political science graduate did something no Howard University School of Law student has done in nearly 10 years.

He graduated first out of 137 students in his class, with the highest academic honor distinction: summa cum laude. The few Howard Law students who earned the same distinction include Goler Teal Butcher in 1957, and Ritu Narula (2010).

At Howard, the Harlem native was vice president of his class, a senior staff editor for the Howard Law Journal, and a student attorney for the Investor Justice and Education Clinic.

“It seems to me it would be difficult to remain humble and quiet and just do your work,” says associate dean of academic affairs Lisa Crooms-Robinson. “But that’s exactly what he did. So unless you were paying really close attention, it’s like ‘surprise!’ I’m incredibly happy for him. He earned every single point.”

“This is a moment of pride for the entire law school community,” adds Danielle Holley-Walker, dean of Howard Law.

“Emerson dedicated himself for 3 years to achieve this goal. His tremendous commitment and talent have paid off. The Howard Law community celebrates this moment with Emerson and his family.”

Emerson says the people around him gave him what he needed to earn the top spot in his class.

“My professors challenged me to be great both inside of the classroom and in life,” he said. “My colleagues ignited my competitive nature and cheered me on. The faculty members always provided a listening ear to help soothe my mind when the challenges of the real world felt like too much.”

Emerson Lovell, during his ABC days in Westport.

He notes the importance of a support group. It should be diverse, and include “colleagues, mentors inside and outside of the field, and family.”

ABC was part of that support group. David and Lori Sochol — Westporters who have long served in leadership roles in the organization — were in Washington yesterday, proudly watching Emerson’s hisoric graduation.

The next step: he has been hired by Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton, the global firm specializing in financial law. He’ll work in their New York office.

Congratulations and good luck, Emerson.

And kudos to your ABC family too!

(For more information on A Better Chance of Westport, click here.)

ABC House Has — And Fulfills — A Dream

In 2002, A Better Chance of Westport was just a dream.

ABC logoIn the 14 years since, the ABC program has fulfilled dreams. Young men have come from across America to Glendarcy House, on the corner of North Avenue and Cross Highway. They’ve attended Staples High School, and gotten deeply involved in school and community activities.

They’ve gone on to college, and embarked on careers. They’re already getting married. They’re success stories, and Westport should be enormously proud of them.

Every year in March, ABC holds its annual fundraiser. This year, they celebrate a great achievement: They now have 20 graduates.

Quite appropriately, the fundraiser is called ABC’s “Dream Event.”

The evening — set for Saturday, March 19 (7 p.m., Birchwood Country Club) — is always inspiring. One of the highlights is speeches by graduating seniors. Adrian Belvitt, Thomas Jones and Chris Morales — 3 very different young men, with a broad range of talents and experiences — will give insightful talks.

ABC House seniors (from left) Adrian Blevitt, Thomas Jones and Christopher Morales.

ABC House seniors (from left) Adrian Blevitt, Thomas Jones and Christopher Morales.

So will Emerson Lovell. Four years ago, he spoke as an ABC senior. This year, he graduates from Duke University. He’s very active in black politics there, and this fall heads to law school.

He’s just one of nearly 2 dozen young men whose lives have been impacted by ABC House. Shamir Clayton is earning an MBA at the University of Rochester. Jay Dodd is a noted blogger. Wesley Lemon is a chef in North Carolina, is also pursuing a music career (he sings at the Dream Event each year) — and is the 1st ABC House graduate to also have a baby.

Jeffrey Arias got married last year. Charles Winslow can’t make the Dream Event — he’s getting married the same day, to a woman in med school.

“Our mission is to give these young men a better chance,” says Dream Event organizer Lori Sochol. “Through that, they will touch other lives.”

Emerson Lovell

Emerson Lovell

Those are not just warm-and-fuzzy ideals. Emerson Lovell, for example — the Dream Event keynote speaker — inspired his younger sister to go to college. She’s there now.

The Dream Event is one of the highlights of my year. I can’t imagine a more powerful fundraiser.

Or a more fun one. There’s a fantastic auction, which this year will be bigger and better than ever. A new online system allows anyone to bid in real time that night — even if they’re not there. (Pre-bidding begins March 12 — click here for details, then scroll down.)

ABC’s mission is simple, and important: to provide academically gifted, economically disadvantaged and highly motivated African-American, Latino, Asian-American and Native American young men the opportunity to live in our community and study at Staples.

Through an education tough to get in their home communities, it is hoped they’ll assume positions of responsibility and leadership in their careers, communities and families..

With 8 scholars, ABC's Glendary House is at capacity this year.

With 8 scholars, ABC’s Glendary House is at capacity this year.

But the ABC graduates — 20, this June — have given at least as much to Westport

You can meet them, and hear their stories, at the March 19 Dream Event.

When you do, you’ll realize that dreams — the ABC organizers’, the scholars’, and all of ours for a better world — really can come true.

(For tickets, more information and auction details, click on www.ABetterChanceofWestport.org, then scroll down.)

Here’s a look at the day in the life of ABC House:

Here’s a look back at the 2014 Dream Event: