Grace College’s 2012 President’s Scholarship recipient Drake Darrah will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science in history and political science and a minor in pre-law. Originally from Buffalo Grove, Ill., Darrah’s full-tuition scholarship to Grace led to a successful college experience which has cumulated in a job offer from a leading Chicago law firm and ambitious aspirations for his future.
Drake recently accepted the position of project assistant with Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago. This two-year post entails supporting paralegals and attorneys in various practice groups. This year Sidley Austin LLP received the Best Lawyers Law Firm of the Year Award by “U.S. News and World Report” and has recently been ranked the second best law firm in Chicago and seventeenth nationally according to Vault Rankings and Reviews.
Quite different from a “typical student,” Darrah as overcome significant challenges to achieve this success. Adopted at a young age from a Chinese orphanage, suffering complete deafness and having no language skills, Darrah has worked his way through intense speech and auditory therapy after receiving a cochlear implant. His parents, Craig and Sara Darrah, say that Drake displayed exceptional intelligence immediately after joining their family. Drake taught himself to read prior to preschool, and reached grade-level literacy and academic skills before receiving a cochlear implant at age five. This surgically implanted device provided electronic hearing and allowed him to experience sound for the first time.
“Drake is an inspiration to overcome any struggles in life. I am excited to follow his career path and see where the Lord leads him,” said Dr. Jared Burkholder, chair of the department of history and political science and professor at Grace College.
Darrah’s desire for a Christian education led him to Grace College where he excelled. Professor and Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Mark Norris said, “Drake was a great student; he always excelled in class. He just needed to know if he worked hard enough, he could accomplish anything. And he did just that.”
This past fall Darrah and fellow student, Edward Coplin won All American Client and Advocate team, placing third in the International Mediation Competition hosted by Drake Law School.
Darrah looks at every day as an opportunity to grow beyond his circumstances. He says he was encouraged by his professors to live by the motto “memores acti prudentes potest,” which means “mindful of what has been done, aware of what is possible.” According to Darrah, “Being at Grace taught me to stop theorizing and to invest in my interests and dreams.”
In addition to the experience Darrah will gain at Sidley Austin LLP, he is excited to be a part of a culture of learning that drives its employees to apply their time and talents toward resolving challenging legal matters. Darrah hopes to further his education by pursuing a J.D. of International Law at the University of Chicago Law School. Long-term Darrah says, “Grace has inspired and prepared me for bigger things. I would like to work to end sex trafficking after I acquire my J.D.”