Earlier this year, Southeastern junior Anita Maharajh was exploring college options on the College Board website when she came across a criminal justice program that caught her eye. Though most high school students would have probably glanced at it for a few minutes and moved on, Anita decided to look into it further. Her perseverance paid off – this summer (July 17 – 22) she will be attending a week-long program in crime scene investigation and forensics through the National Youth Leadership Forum at George Mason University, in the Washington, D.C. area.
Anita, who is a Legal and Protective Services major, is thrilled to have the opportunity. She will be staying at the Marriott Hotel, in the hub of the city, and will be meeting students from across the country. She’ll also get to tour the capital’s legal sites and will get instruction from nationally-recognized legal professionals.
“I get to go to Capitol Hill and all the museums. I also get to work on actual cases, and conduct CSI gigs,” she said.
In order to attend, Anita first had to apply and get accepted, and then raise $1700 for tuition, room and board. She’s almost reached that goal, having raised $1,400, and has deposited $400 of her own money just in case she doesn’t raise the rest. She got most of the funds from donations by the Easton Police Department and the school’s Public Safety Department. She also held a school wiffle ball tournament for a fund-raiser, which got a great student turn-out.
Her instructors, Pam Foster, Joseph Lalli, and Jeffrey Bohning, have all helped her with the fundraising, and they have all encouraged her to attend the forum. Mr. Lalli, a lawyer who teaches legal seminars, thinks this is great opportunity for Anita. He also said she has the potential to become a good lawyer.
“She’s very highly motivated for someone her age, and she has a very clear direction in life,” he said.
Anita said she first got interested in criminal justice by taking an exploratory class as a freshman. She participated in a debate on capital punishment, as a class activity, and got to argue both sides of the issue. She actually won both debates.
“I was so excited, and from then on in love with it,” she said.
Since then, she’s decided she wants to merge two different passions – the military and law – with the goal of becoming a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer. In addition to her excellent school work, Anita has participated in a Student Trooper Program, a week-long summer program that teaches students about state trooper duties. She’s also served as a chapter officer for SkillsUSA and won second place in the Techspo competition last year for helping to develop “Covert Teddy,” a teddy bear with a hidden surveillance camera.
She also enjoys working out, and has been a star in the Legal and Protective Service’s physical training camp, which involves push-ups, sit-ups, running and weight-lifting.