By the time this high school senior graduates, she will have accumulated 60 college credits – a healthy start toward the first degree she’ll need to become a lawyer. She’ll be collecting her high school diploma and, simultaneously, her Associate’s Degree.
Schyeler Gilman is being exposed to a lot of the “real world” through having taken technical classes at Warren Tech and interning in the Wheat Ridge municipal court system.
As a junior, Schye (pronounced ‘Sky’) pursued the Criminal Justice program at Warren Tech’s Red Rocks campus, the career and technical high school that’s part of Jefferson County Schools. Criminal Justice – for those interested in law enforcement, investigations, dispatch, corrections, victim services, probation or other related fields – is just one of 18 programs offered there. Schye found it beneficial in being exposed to what will be “the other side” of law enforcement when she becomes a criminal attorney – policing techniques and strategies, evidence collection and documentation.
“I loved it!” she says with the obvious exclamation point. “If you think you know what you want to do, it’s a cheap way to go to college…. Every kid who goes there loves it,” she says with enthusiasm. She felt it was ‘real world’ experience surrounded by instructors who treated the students like adults, and she particularly enjoyed the atmosphere of being surrounded with people who had similar interests.
Through participation in the Evergreen High School Mock Trial competition her sophomore year, she discovered she had a natural aptitude for memorizing statutes and understanding them.
"It took a couple of months to prepare for the competition, which takes place in an actual courtroom in Golden," she explained. A team of students accept a case and then learn to dissect it, preparing questions for direct and cross examination as well as closing arguments. “It meant a lot of writing. We had to audition to be on the A team or the B team – defense or prosecution.” Schye found she could be comfortable on both sides. The following year she participated on the Mock Trial team for Warren Tech. Both years she was recognized as “best attorney” in the competition.
This year she’s part of Jeffco’s 21st Century Virtual Academy, which allows her to take courses online. “It’s a lot like attending classes at school – there are teachers, lecture boards, videos of them going over materials – and we do assignments. It’s a great alternative education when you need something that’s flexible.”
The adaptability of online studies enables her to be an intern in the courtroom in Wheat Ridge for 8 hours each week where she assists the City Attorney in the writing of motions as well as plea bargains for traffic cases. She has also served as the bailiff in the court, checking people in, handing things to the judge. It’s part of the Executive High School Internship Program, for which she applied, interviewed and was accepted.
“I found out about it through Warren Tech,” she explains, saying her experience her junior year has opened a lot of doors for her. “It’s more of a district setting for law offices and looks good on a résumé.” She’ll get elective credit for the hours she spends there.
A typical day might find her dropping her sister off at Warren Tech, attending a class in Political Science at Red Rocks Community College, working four hours in Wheat Ridge, returning to take a Statistics class at Red Rocks before heading home to do homework and catch some sleep before starting the next day.
She’s busy applying to colleges, with the University of Denver, Harvard, Yale and Stanford on her shortlist. She expects to graduate from high school with an Associates of Arts degree and could potentially enter college as either a sophomore or a junior, depending on how many credits the respective universities will accept.
As for her “spare time,” she spends a lot of it getting ready for the next chapter of her life. She also works part time at Marmalade in lower downtown Evergreen, selling costume jewelry and accessories. It’s a good fit because she enjoys dressing professionally and looking put together. She says she loves jewelry – making it, fixing it, wearing it.
Schye and her sister, Sierra, work together creating videos as part of Sierra’s educational pursuit (also at Warren Tech). The two sisters have always spent a lot of time with each other.
Together with their mother, they’ve participated in National Charity League (NCL), which has exposed them to a variety of nonprofit causes such as Center for the Arts, The Evergreen Players, and the Mountain Area Land Trust. Last year Schye served as emcee for the NCL talent show at the Muddy Buck where the group raised money for Operation Home Front, which helps with providing school supplies for the kids of men and women who are deployed overseas.
NCL involvement has caused her to develop an appreciation for the arts – both visual and performing. EPIC comedy is perhaps her favorite. She finds it hard to believe that some people in Evergreen have never been to Center/Stage, the home for theatre productions in Evergreen and a place she frequents.
Interacting with adults seems comfortable for this young woman. She’s personable and comfortable in her own skin – and eager to get on with life! “I love to learn – and nothing can compare to experience.”
Oh, and she’s already thinking she’d like to – someday – be an elected official in the State of Colorado. Remember that name when you see it on the ballot!