By Janeal Downs
One of Creyona Macklin’s biggest passions and goals in life is to make a difference. This desire has inspired her career choices, and she hopes to continue her education to one day become a lawyer. “For a long time I actually wanted to be a veterinarian, but it wasn’t until I got to middle school that I realized I wanted to be a lawyer,” Creyona reflected. She loves to talk, debate, research and write. These are all skills she plans to utilize and improve on to become an attorney.
While she is still in school, Creyona is already working to give back to the community through a variety of different organizations. Some of her past volunteer work includes helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity, cleaning up streets with the Adopt a Street program and volunteering with Saint Paul’s Baptist Church. “I realized with a lot of things that I’ve done, it’s not just adults who may be suffering from things that are happening in the community. A lot of times it’s even people my age,” she said. In the past, she helped collect women’s toiletries with Youth Justice for survivors of domestic violence. She realized that some of these women could have children who are teenagers. So she could be helping people her age and older. In fact, with this program she took it a step further and went to her school’s principal to ask if students could get an hour of community service for donating to the cause. With these programs and others, she gained over 200 hours of community service.
Outside of her volunteer work, Creyona is also a part of multiple school organizations. She serves as the treasurer of the Key Club, is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, Future Business Leaders of America, S.W.A.I. (Sisters with an Intuition), and a youth member of the NAACP. She also previously served as the co-captain of the cheerleading squad at Thomas Jefferson High School. “I enjoy doing things in general with other youths that have the same passion as me,” Creyona said when describing why her favorite activity is working with her different organizations. Even with all of her extracurricular activities, Creyona maintains a 3.96 GPA.
Currently a senior, Creyona’s top choice of college is Howard University in Washington D.C. “I really love Howard. I tried to have an open mind for when I visit other schools and not just say Howard’s the one, but I just don’t get the same vibes that Howard gives,” she said. The campus atmosphere, its law program, and also the fact that it’s an HBCU are other reasons the school attracted her. She plans to eventually attend Howard’s law school and wants to focus in employment law. She learned of her interest in this type of law after interning with the Virginia Department of Corrections over the summer. “I didn’t really have a good idea of who’s usually innocent and who’s wrong. I thought that the big guys were the bad guys and that the little people were always right,” Creyona said. “But after representing and working with the big guys I realized that, well, sometimes the little people can be just as wrong.” Learning more through this department helped her decide to go into focusing on employment law in the future.
Before she goes to college, one lesson Creyona learned from high school is to not “dwell on mistakes.” She is encouraged by her passion to give back, but also her mother and great grandmother, both of whom she is named after. “I didn’t realize how powerful my name was and what it actually meant because I didn’t really like it at first,” Creyona said. “But now I understand what my grandmother had to go through with getting made fun of with her name and just the legacy that she’s created for my family.” This legacy includes Creyona’s mother being the first in her family to get her master’s degree, something that motivates her to continue her own education. Creyona hopes to create her own legacy as an attorney and also by developing her own organizations to teach youth about the legal system and provide internship opportunities for teenagers who also want to go into the field and follow similar paths as herself.