celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

Girl proved she could be the lawyer

Janis Alexander Cross
Age: 54
Occupation: Attorney

Where did you receive your education?
Texas Tech University; Texas Tech University School of Law.

How has your education played a role in your life today?
It has allowed me to have a successful career and to help, along with my husband, raise two children who are now law students.

What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
I was the first member of my family to attend college. Because my family income was below the poverty line, I qualified for every type of government financial aid. I was amazed and went home to ask my grandmother, “Did you know we are poor?” She assured me that she was well aware of that fact. I was able to graduate in three years and continue to law school.

What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
I once advised an undergraduate at West Texas A&M University to stay in school rather than dropping out to go on the rodeo circuit. The young man was Trevor Brazile, and he went on to win more than a million dollars and has been the Pro Rodeo Cowboy of the Year many times. I’m glad he didn’t listen to my advice! If you have some great gift, you may do OK without your education. However, most people will struggle and live in poverty if they do not obtain an education. Every parent should try to assure that their children are well educated and they receive the training they need to succeed in their chosen career.

What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
I was in a civics class in sixth grade and we had a mock trial. I was told that I couldn’t be the judge or one of the lawyers, because I was a girl. I knew that I wanted more, and thought that if I got my education, I could be the lawyer. Also, my family encouraged me to get an education and did everything they could to support me.

Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
Holy cow! I probably thought about quitting every single day, especially when my friends were out having fun or late at night when they were already in bed sleeping. Getting an education is hard work. It takes dedication. It takes initiative.

2009 Stories
2008 Archive
calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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