Pasadena mom of 5 dons cap, gown in viral photo, says she has sights set on bench

By Amanda Cochran - Social Media Producer
Richard Holman Photography

PASADENA, Texas - A Pasadena single mother of five children is set to graduate law school in May, and a touching photo with her kids – her “mini lawyers” -- is going viral.

Ieshia Champs, 33, gives credit on Facebook to her children and God for helping her through the “difficult” years of law school. 

It’s a path she told KPRC in a recent interview that she didn’t see for herself, even a few years ago. 

Champs grew up partially in foster care and eventually dropped out of school. Her children’s father died of cancer, she lost her home and her job, and, at one point, tried to commit suicide.

Champs said that all changed in 2009, when a mentor at her church urged her to seek her GED. When she took those steps and did earn her diploma, she said, “I was so ecstatic.”

The next steps were at Houston Community College, the University of Houston Downtown and presently, Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. 

“It was very difficult,” Champs said of her years in school.

However, she added that the Thurgood Marshall School of Law had numerous organizations to help parents. 

“They’ll watch your children while you study,” Champs said. “They said, ‘Bring your kids, we’ll watch them.’ Professors let you bring your kids to class. … I made the best choice (in schools). This is like another family.”

Champs, like many busy parents, found ways to make it all work. 

“Professors would give them colors and books (while I was in class). I studied in between classes. During my son’s football practice, I studied. At home, when we were cooking and combing hair, I had flash cards. (The kids) were a mock jury, and I would reiterate what I learned,” Champs said.

In addition to all of that, Champs completed her internships at a Houston law office and at the Harris County Attorney’s Office. 

Champs told KPRC she’s scheduled to take the Bar exam in July and has her sights set on the bench. Champs said she will be looking for a job with a law firm or in government, but dreams of one day owning her own firm and becoming a federal judge.

“Don’t let your current situation determine your future circumstances,” Champs said. “I honestly believe people can make their struggles into their success story. … If God can do it for me, he can do it for someone else.”
 

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