7950 Legacy Drive, Suite 360, Plano, TX 75024
Free Initial Consultation
Call 24/7

The Crowder Law Firm Scholarship Spring 2023 Winner

Grace Schuler

Grace is a junior at Drexel University. At Drexel, Grace hopes to gain the skills necessary to open her own firm planning events. In Grace's essay, you learn of the self-growth she has experienced over the years (specifically related to public speaking) and how she has taken the lessons she has learned and used them to help others.

Grace Schuler

Read Grace's Essay:

“To whom much is given, much is expected” is the adage I live by.

I appreciate the gifts I have been given, and feel a responsibility to use them for the good. I have been supporting my community for many years, and I plan to continue during my time in college and beyond. I believe that is truly The American Dream – putting your knowledge and expertise to work to help others become their best selves. Yes, honors, fame, money, and so on are all markers of this dream, but in any autobiography I’ve ever read, those who have truly achieved The American Dream, talk about paying it forward and remembering from where they came.

If we agree that the ultimate American Dream is the ability to leave your mark while helping others rise up, then yes, I believe anyone can achieve this, in ways great or small.

While I have had many awesome experiences because of my involvement, there is one project I feel exemplifies my commitment to helping others and is my achievement of The American Dream so far. It is the barometer by which I have measured success for myself up to this point and I’d like to share the history of how it came to be with you now.

Growing up, I was shy and didn’t like talking in public. There were many times I wanted to speak up, but I wasn’t always comfortable making my point in a crowd. Through qualitative and quantitative research, I learned that at some point in their life, nearly everyone is called upon to speak publicly, yet only about 10% of the world's 7 billion people actually enjoy it.

By middle school, I was participating in groups that required me to speak publicly and it was very uncomfortable. It was then I decided that if I had to be a public speaker, I would do whatever it took to become a good, if not a great, one.

So, I started practicing and accepting requests to speak at everything from my middle school graduation to serving as a church lector in front of 500 people regularly. I entered a high school public speaking competition and won a scholarship. In short, through hard work and determination, I conquered my fear – and realized I could help others conquer theirs as well.

I decided I wanted to make a difference and help solve this issue by teaching 'tweens and early teens to conquer their public speaking fears at a young age. Oprah Winfrey, John F. Kennedy, and Brad Pitt are just a few examples of people who learned the power of public speaking through their school speech clubs and I thought this might be a great outlet for young people in schools that currently did not have such a club. I decided to create a free public speaking training program for low-income middle school students called “Speak Out!”

I led “Speak Out!” for four years while I was in high school, devoting 600+ hours and training more than 100+ middle-school participants, seven of whom earned tuition scholarships. “Speak Out!” was promoted on schools’ web sites, newsletters and in the local media. Word of the event has reached more than 200,000 people so far. The magazine and newspaper articles and five-minute video links here summarize the work I have done to make “Speak Out!” successful: http://www.parishtimes.com/uploads/8/3/6/6/8366083/march_2017.pdf (page 35) and https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-magazine/march-april-2019/top-teens/5/ and https://youtu.be/zKnRbePKC8A.

Upon starting college (and being faced with a global pandemic shortly thereafter that would make teaching middle school students in a face-to-face setting impossible), I decided to retool “Speak Out!” into an online event and offer it to adults to help them overcome their public speaking fears too. I redesigned my curriculum to fit into a much shorter time frame and now offer it for free to my college peers through groups such as Drexel Women in Business and Drexel Hospitality Society, as well as business organizations such as Rotary International. Much like my event for 'tweens, the requests keep coming.

“Speak Out!” has meant a great deal to me. It solidified my decision to pursue my other American Dream, that of opening my own event planning company, at which I plan to develop large-scale events that resolve hard issues and make the world a better place through creative solutions that work. Events like Live Aid, Special Olympics and The Susan Komen Race for the Cure are just a few examples of how special events have the power to change the world. In addition, “Speak Out!” also helped me find my voice and teach other people how to find theirs when they believed they did not have one.

While I know it is a long road ahead, I am convinced that my willingness to learn and commitment to hard work will pay off with me opening my own event planning firm when I graduate.

During the past seven years that I have been working in the hospitality industry to put myself through college, I have encountered many fellow young employees who have not had the luxury of a stable home life. They are often having a hard time believing The American Dream is within their reach. Due to their circumstances, some have come to work wearing the same uniform they wore the day before, not always being very clean and sometimes, even arriving hungry. Their pride prevented them from telling management they did not have a bed to sleep in, let alone money for a trip to the laundromat or dinner the night before. The best leaders I have worked with understand not everyone is coming from the same place. They are firm believers that The American Dream is possible for all and as a result, they have provided a safe place to shower and shave, clean uniforms and a free, hot meal during working hours all as part of the job, no questions asked. And what a difference that can make to a teenager struggling to help care for their family and just finish high school.

To me, these leaders are what make The American Dream possible for everyone. They are moral, communicate well and are unbiased. They work for the common good and are always looking to build up, not knock down, those they employ – especially those who are most in need and vulnerable. And while the leader’s rationale for behaving this way is not for gain, there is a benefit in that those who are treated well tend to be more loyal, which makes for great retention and commitment. To quote hotelier J. Willard Marriott: "Take care of your associates and they'll take care of your customers." Talk about a man who lived The American Dream – from soda fountain clerk to owner of the world’s largest hotel chain.

Thank you for considering me for your scholarship.

Elite Lawyer AVVO National Trial Lawyer National Trial Lawyer Top 40 Under 40 SuperLawyer Client Champion 2020 Nations Top Attorneys National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Back to Top