AlumNow: Law alum finds niche helping children and families

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As a student at Dallas ISD’s Law Magnet in 2004, Stephanie McGary was on a path to a possible law career. However, fast forward to 2016, and the school has a new name—Judge Barefoot Sanders Magnet Center for Public Service: Government, Law and Law Enforcement—and McGary is in on an entirely different path as a counselor who helps young students facing some real life challenges.

AlumNow, The Hub feature that profiles district alumni, caught up with McGary, who is realizing her real purpose by helping children and their families.

What are you doing now?

I am a licensed professional counselor at Momentous Institute where I provide individual, group, and family therapy to families who have children and adolescents experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Briefly list a few of your career and/or personal highlights.

  • First generation college student
  • Graduated with bachelors in political science from Dillard University
  • Served as an AmeriCorps member for four terms assisting with childhood hunger and summer learning loss
  • Graduated with master’s in counseling from Southern Methodist University
  • Served as a spokesperson/Alumna Speaker for Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas
  • Currently working towards becoming fully licensed with hopes of becoming the executive director of a local non-profit

What was your favorite subject or activity/involvement in high school?

My favorite subject had to be Pre-Calculus. Not because I am in love with math, but because it taught me how to think outside of the box. Pre-Cal taught me not to be afraid of making a mistake. Everyone makes a mistake in Pre-Cal, that’s what erasers are for. Erase it-learn from it- and do it better the next time. My teacher was pretty awesome as well.

Who was your favorite teacher?

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Bell. She was an awesome Pre-Calculus teacher who was so organized and took pride in her profession. I remember having to do binder checks, and creating a glossary for every math equation possible (I still have it). To this day, I make sure that I take pride in whatever has my name attached to it, whether it be an email or a post card. She rocked!!!

What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?

That there will always be someone smarter and more talented than you, but only you are perfect for your purpose so figure it out and work it out. Find your niche. Find something that you are good at and what you are passionate about, and work hard until you can make that thing your profession. It is possible. It takes hard work, time, dedication, and faith…but it can be done. Trust me.

What advice, if any, would you offer to high school students today?

Turn in your homework, arrive early, and give it your all. Not just for a grade, but to get in the habit of turning things in on time, showing up on time, and being persistent. Whatever you choose to do in life, you will have to learn to do these three things.

College/University and degree earned:

Bachelor’s degree in political science, Dillard University – New Orleans, LA (2008)

Master’s degree in counseling, Southern Methodist University

If you are a Dallas ISD alum and would like to be considered for an AlumNow spotlight, please complete the questionnaire and submit along with a recent high-resolution headshot. We look forward to catching up with you and sharing your accomplishments.

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