By Isanella Patoir
For 33-year-old Caressa Henry, balancing her family life, a full-time job and pursuing her legal education at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago was extremely challenging. But it was all worth it because this year, she is on the Principal’s Honour Roll and the top graduating Guyanese law student.
The former court clerk told the News Room that it is never too late to pursue your dreams.
“It feels surreal but yet I am proud; I am honoured knowing the challenges that I have experienced during this journey. It was not an easy road,” Caressa said during an interview at the High Court on Friday.
Her petition to practice law was presented in the High Court before Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, SC on Wednesday by attorney-at-law Sandra Bart.
Caressa is even more proud to have come out successful during unprecedented times. She initially attended law school physically but had to return to Guyana and continue to study online when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Twin Island Republic.
“On the return home, I was quite scared because being away from my family, my children although it was hard, coming back and then having to cope and balance with that, with law school and all the uncertainties with the pandemic, it was quite tough but we had to do the online classes; they were not always ideal but eventually things settled in and I was able to keep on top of my performance,” Caressa explained.
Caressa does not believe she would have been this successful without the support of her family.
“….my husband who supported me along the way, my mother who give of herself to help to take care of my children – I have a two-year-old child soon to be three,” Caressa said.
At a very young age, Caressa knew she wanted to become a lawyer and this passion was further ignited after she started working as a clerk in the Supreme Court of Judicature in 2007.
She was then transferred to the Ministry of Health and one year later to the Ministry of Legal Affairs. During this time, Caressa never stopped studying.
She did two diplomas in Administrative Professional Studies and Public Management and then her Bachelor of Laws Degree at the University of Guyana.
Caressa is also a volunteer with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and for the past 15 years, she has been a volunteer peer educator.
In 2019, Caressa was awarded a scholarship by the government to complete her legal education and as such she will be working with the government.
Caressa said she never stopped pursuing her dreams because she believed becoming an attorney was her calling.
“This is my talent, this is my calling, this is what I am here to do, to serve in the legal fraternity, to serve my clients and to serve the courts.”
She is aiming to give her best in the profession and is now aspiring to one day become a magistrate or a judge.
Carissa attended the South Ruimveldt Park Primary School, St John’s College, St Stanislaus College for sixth form, the University of Guyana, and finally the Hugh Wooding Law School.
“So the best advice I can give is to never stop pursuing your dreams, plan it, and go for it, never give up, it is never too late and I am an example of that. Being a mother and taking on all those responsibilities never stopped me from pursuing my goal.”