FAMU LAW News

Tenacious Law Student Receives Scholarship After Personal Tragedy

Tenacious Law Student Receives Scholarship After Personal Tragedy

By Nadia Felder

 

After sending her children off to college and dealing with an upsetting divorce, Angela Chapman, decided the one thing that would make her happy again was school…law school to be exact.

 

Yet, before she could even begin the process of applying to law school, her priority was to finish an undergrad degree first. So by spring 2014, 50-year-old Chapman graduated from North Carolina AT&T State with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. She then set sail for the Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law in Orlando.

 

Thankfully, as she matriculated through her first-year law school experience, she had her new husband to support her.

 

“My husband worked two jobs just so I could focus on school,” said Chapman. Eventually, she was able to land a temporary part-time work study position in the law school’s admissions office. Later, she was offered a full-time position at the Harbor House of Central Florida in the Court Services Program which helped put food on the table.

 

Shortly after just barely adjusting to her new classes, new job, and new marriage, news was received that Chapman’s youngest daughter had been shot in the head during memorial weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, her hometown. Although her daughter survived the shooting, she suffered from a serious brain injury, leaving Chapman no choice but to raise her eight and 11-year-old grandchildren.

 

With everything happening one-thing-after-another, Chapman’s world became nothing less than overwhelming. From becoming a full-time grandmother driving children to-and-from school, to studying for law school, to keeping up with her daughter’s medical misfortune.

 

Sadly, in the mist of trying to save her family, Chapman was eventually let go from her job, adding yet another financial burden to her plate. Yet, even that didn’t stop her from pursuing her law school dreams.

 

“I often had to bring my grandkids to class with me,” said Chapman. “Sometimes they would participate in class and be members of my jury.”

 

Through it all, she continued to carry her family on her back and books in her hand. She began using everything she learned from FAMU’s law school to help fight her daughter’s injury case. Fatefully, Chapman always planned to practice family law post-graduation, after realizing how much legal representation is needed during a family crisis.

 

“From day one I wanted to practice family law,” said Chapman. “God has a funny way of presenting destiny.”

 

This summer, Chapman has much to celebrate. Not only is her daughter’s recovery moving forward, but she is now walking into her third year in law school with a scholarship. The College of Law Alliance partnered with the Greater Orlando Chapter of the National Alumni Association to present Chapman with the first-ever alumni scholarship of $2,500.

 

“Truly a blessing. I had no idea where the money for summer classes would come from but it came. I needed some way to pay for my summer tuition and through faith [it happened].”

 

When asked what were some things that kept her pushing through the storm, Chapman reiterated that without her faith nothing would have been possible.

 

“And of course the love, support and encouragement of my family and the students, faculty and staff at my school, FAMU,” added Chapman.

 

The now 53-year-old student continues her stride in faith towards her December 2017 graduation.

 

 

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