The Catholic University of America



Dean Veryl Miles Delivers Keynote Address at 2010 Beat the Odds Awards


Catholic University law school Dean Veryl V. Miles was the featured speaker at the 2010 Beat the Odds awards presentation, held on April 21 at the Alexandria, Va., courthouse.

The Alexandria Beat the Odds program, modeled after a Children’s Defense Fund Program, is a collaborative effort that supports youth who have overcome difficult situations to achieve educational or vocational goals. Now in its seventh year, the awards program again honored Alexandria youth, ages 13 to 21, who have achieved academic and other goals in spite of a history of involvement with the local court, mental health or social services systems.
The program provides financial awards, certificates and other recognition for nine selected youths who meet scholarship criteria. The funds enable them to finish college or begin graduate school.
The dean’s remarks were made before several young people who had experienced severe difficulties in their lives. One young man had fled war-torn Sierra Leone. A young woman had spent some of her childhood homeless. Yet another had struggled with severe health problems her whole life.
As Dean Miles noted, “When I asked what I should be doing tonight, I was told that my job is to inspire you, our honorees. But then, you are the ones who are truly inspiring.”
She went on to share many of the life-lessons inspired by Marian Wright Edelman, the longtime president of the Children’s Defense Fund. Sounding the theme, “turning the hand you have been dealt into aces,” Dean Miles concluded her address by recounting Edelman’s 25 Lessons for Life, including this thought,” Don’t ever give up on life. It is God’s gift. When trouble comes, hang in.”
Five Columbus School of Law students were also introduced as 2009-2010 Howard Fellows. The fellowships are collaboration between the law school and the Alexandria Bar Foundation, and provide CUA Law students with a stipend while they work in the Alexandria Public Defender Office providing legal support for attorneys who represent indigent clients charged with crimes in Alexandria.
This year’s Howard Fellows were Dana Farahani (2L), and Elizabeth Grofic, Danielle Malaty, Joseph Rhodes and Michael Schoenfeld, all members of the Class of 2010.