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Heading to Harvard Law

Tri-County grad, Ximena Cespedes, will enter law school in the fall of 2021

Ximena Cespedes grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. Ximena received scholarships from Tri-County Scholarship Fund to attend better safer schools, beginning with Pope John Elementary School and then onto Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon for middle school and high school.

Ximena Cespedes’ mother used every ounce of her strength and determination to keep her family afloat. Every single day throughout each year, including weekends and holidays, she’d wake up at 2:00am to deliver newspapers to over 800 homes before she’d start her second, full-time job. Said Ximena, “she fought tooth and nail to try to provide the best possible education for us.” Yet, despite all her mother’s efforts, it didn’t generate enough income to pay the cost of her two daughters’ tuitions to their independent schools. The Tri-County Scholarship Fund saw her efforts and helped pay Ximena’s and her older sister Mayra’s tuition from elementary school until they graduated from Mary Help of Christian’s Academy. Mayra received the Letterman Award and Ximena was Valedictorian of her class.

Ximena attended Georgetown University on full scholarship while her sister attended UCLA. Four years later Ximena graduated with a Bachelor of Science in International Political Economy and Mayra received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. After gaining experience during a summer internship at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a year later Ximena was hired full time as an Analyst there, where she regulates some of the biggest banks on Wall Street.

After 2 years working at the Federal Reserve, Ximena felt it was time to achieve another one of her goals. “My life experiences combined with what I learned at Georgetown,” she said, “have nurtured in me a desire to help address some of the inequities that persist within our society through the study of the law. I’m pursuing a lifelong dream – to become the first lawyer in our family. I applied to law school this past fall and was accepted by several law schools including Georgetown, Penn, Columbia and Harvard.” She was accepted as an SEO Law Fellow, and is spending this summer at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, one of the top law firms in the country, before she begins attending Harvard Law School September 2021.

“I am in an incredible place in my career and my journey,” said Ximena. “I have so much more that I want to accomplish, but for now I’m grateful for how far I’ve come. None of my successes – past, present or future – would be possible without the trustees and donors of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund. An education is truly the single greatest gift a child can receive. Thank you for choosing to invest in mine. It has made all the difference. I can’t wait to one day be in your seat so that I can change the lives of many students in the way you have changed mine.”


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