Tale of Two Teachers- Latina finds inspiration

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Lessons learned from her Grandma and Abraham Lincoln helped one Latina succeed in a legal career

 

I am a proud Latina, proud of what I overcame and proud of what I accomplished. My name is Cecilia M. Guerra. I was born and raised in Queens, N.Y., to immigrant parents from Honduras. From an early age, I learned that perseverance bought results. My parents instilled in me the importance of education and the belief in my capabilities. However, it was the words attributed to my Grandmother and the 16th president of the United States that shaped my mindset and instilled in me the drive and will to overcome the insurmountable barriers of a first-generation female Latina growing up in New York City. Here is what they each said:

“The only barrier to your success are your thoughts”—Ercilia Cruz

 

 

Latina inspiration grandmother, Ercilia Cruz My grandmother, Ercilia Cruz

 

And

“Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” "Be sure your feet are in the right place, then stand firm”—Abraham Lincoln.

 

 

 

 

Abraham Lincoln President Abraham Lincoln

 

These are the words that have shaped my thought processes and my life.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Grandma and President Lincoln share many similarities, including humble origins. They also both lost their mothers at a young age. Both shared a thirst for knowledge, an interest in politics and belief in God. Grandma and Lincoln were also strong-willed characters who had the gift of oral persuasion as well as a high regard for the family unit. The similarities between them both striking to me, I could not help but be influenced/inspired by them.

Facing Challenges

Having graduated high school and starting college, there were many challenges I faced but nothing compared to the challenges and rigors of law school. Having overcome the mental challenge of the LSAT entrance exam, my first year of law school was unlike any experience I ever had. I had been “warned” by those who successfully entered the legal profession that what was required to succeed was not only a commitment of time and finances, but also strong mental fortitude and strength of character. During my pursuit of my law degree at times I felt dejected and reconsidered the decision I made to go to law school. Solitude was enhanced by the fact that few fellow Latino students attended law school with me. I felt no one in law school understood what I was going through.

“Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than any other” and ”Be sure your feet are in the right place, then stand firm” were two adages I would constantly recall in order to summon the will to press forward with my pursuit of a legal education.

 

 

 

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About the author

Cecilia Guerra

Cecilia M. Guerra, Esq. was born and raised in Queens, NY. She is a first generation Honduran-American.  A student of both parochial and NYC public schools, she went on to attend John Jay College of Criminal Justice- CUNY in New York City and is an alum of Hofstra University (Maurice A. Deane) School of Law School in Hempstead, NY.
 Cecilia's practice areas include intellectual property, entertainment, contracts, commercial leases, international trade/e-commerce, and transportation law. Currently, she is in-house counsel for Purolator International, Inc. an international logistics services company headquartered in Jericho, NY with 35 offices within the United States and handles the U.S. legal division.