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High School Graduates Receive Vinson & Elkins Diversity Scholarships

Through the Vinson & Elkins Scholars Program, seven outstanding graduating high school students in Texas recently were awarded $10,000 college scholarships.

Vinson & Elkins’ Scholars Program, launched more than 30 years ago, is designed to encourage and support students of color and/or LGBTQ+ students who are interested in becoming lawyers. In addition to the financial award, V&E assigns students a lawyer mentor and will reimburse for a Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) prep course should the recipient pursue law school.

Since the V&E Scholars Program began in 1990, the firm has granted 182 scholarships to diverse graduating high school seniors. V&E Scholars have gone on to the nation’s most prestigious universities and law schools, later working in major corporations, government agencies and law firms.

One of the many notable former V&E Diversity Scholars includes Amanda Edwards, a municipal finance attorney who practiced at V&E after attending Harvard Law School. Edwards went on to serve as a City Council Member and is now running for Mayor of Houston.

Congratulations to this year’s seven Vinson & Elkins scholarship recipients who include:

AUSTIN

Leslie Rodriguez-Acosta is a graduate from Juan Navarro Early College High School and will be attending Harvard University in the Fall. She was Valedictorian of her graduating class, served as club Vice President for Tech Girls who Code and graduated high school with an Associate’s of Arts degree in General Studies. She was an awardee of the  Austin Community College District Excellence Award and the Austin ISD Trustee’s Scholar Award.

“As a V&E scholarship recipient, I am living evidence that Latinos can use their experiences to dictate grand levels of scholarly and professional development,” Rodriguez-Acosta said. “I feel that my journey, transitioning from a student, to an individual, capable of manifesting my abilities into the real world, has only begun.”

DALLAS

RaKayla Jones is a graduate from David W. Carter High School and will be attending The University of Texas at Austin in the Fall. She was historian for her school’s National Honor Society and Captain of both the varsity basketball and volleyball teams. She Salutatorian of her graduating class, was awarded Scholar of the Year in 2020 and 2021 and graduated high school with an Associate’s of Applied Arts degree.

“This scholarship is truly a blessing not only for me but for my family as well,” Jones said. “It gives me the opportunity to financially support my higher education as well as providing additional resources that I can openly use for my benefit.”

Jonathan Wilson is a graduate from South Grand Prairie High School and will be attending The University of Texas at Austin in the Fall. He was the President of his high school’s SGP Interact Club, a member of the Varsity Choir and a part of the Mayors Teen Council. Jonathan received the Soroptimist Award for all A’s in Kindergarten through 11th grade and was a Four-Time Gold Medalist in the Texas Visual Arts Scholastic Event.

“Being selected for this program makes me feel more confident about taking on college and law school,” Wilson said. “I take comfort in knowing that people who share my passion for the law will be supporting and guiding me along the way for years to come.”

HOUSTON

Kaschondralynn “Kasi” Brown is a graduate from South Early College High School and will be attending the University of Southern California in the Fall. She was Varsity President of her school’s debate team, and a member of National Honor Society, Houston ISD’s Urban Debate League, and Yearbook Club. She was class President and graduated high school with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts & Humanities. She was also recognized as a QuestBridge College Prep Scholar and a College Board National African American Recognition Scholar.

“Being a V&E scholarship recipient is an amazing opportunity that will assist my career goals of fostering impoverished communities as a defense attorney,” Brown said.

Tashawn Spivey is a graduate from Grand Oaks High School and will be attending the University of Houston in the Fall. He was a member of both his school’s National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society. He was also a part of the Debate team where his team won 1st place in World Schools Debate at the Atascocita High School Tournament. He was recognized as a National African American Recognition and an AP Scholar.

“Being a V&E Scholar means being one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a lawyer and making a difference in the world,” Spivey said.

Daniela Chaclan is a graduate from YES Prep Gulfton and will be attending Yale University in the Fall. She was a apart of the varsity track and soccer team, and a member of Student Council and the Latinx Student Alliance. She was recognized as an QuestBridge College Prep Scholar for being a high achieving student from a low income background and as an AP Scholar with Distinction.

“I am so thankful to have been awarded this scholarship because it will provide me with financial help and, more importantly, a support system on my path to law school,” Chaclan said.

Katrina Machetta is a graduate from Klein Collins High School and will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the Fall. She was Student Council President, President of the Spanish Honor Society, and very involved in Klein Collins’ newspaper, Legacy Press. She graduated in the top 1% of her class and was an awardee of the Congressional Gold Service Award; which recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in America’s youth.

“I am very grateful to Vinson & Elkins for the support, mentorship and guidance they have provided me,” Machetta said. “They recognized my hard work and efforts to make a positive difference in this world.”

To learn more about scholarships and fellowships for diverse students available from Vinson & Elkins – from high school seniors to rising second-year law students in the U.S. – visit the Diversity & Inclusion section of our website.

About Vinson & Elkins
For more than a century, Vinson & Elkins has provided outstanding client service across important industries that drive the global economy. Built on a strong culture of collaboration across 12 offices worldwide, V&E lawyers are committed to excellence, offering clients decades of legal experience in handling transactions, investments, projects and disputes across the globe. Learn more by visiting www.velaw.com or follow us on Twitter @VinsonandElkins or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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