Caressa Henry has graduated the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS) as the best performing Guyanese student in the Class of 2021 and according to her, the journey was not an easy one, but with the support of loved ones, she was able to achieve this goal.
Henry was admitted to the Guyana Bar on Wednesday by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George at the High Court.
After obtaining her Law Degree from the University of Guyana in 2019, Henry secured a scholarship from the Government of Guyana to attend HWLS for her Legal Education Certificate (LEC).
Following the two-year programme, she graduated with honours having obtained six to eight A grades in the 11 courses and was even listed on the Principal’s Roll of Honour. Henry was subsequently awarded the Guyana Government’s Prize for the Best Performing Guyanese Student.
Henry embarked on her legal journey while being a wife and mother of three, holding down a full-time job. She explained that the journey was “far from easy”, but in the end, it was “definitely worth it”.
According to her, the support system she built with family and friends motivated and inspired her to stay on course.
“I had a huge support base and that is why I can stand proudly here today and feel how I’m feeling and achieved what I have achieved,” she told this publication following her admission to the Bar.
After attaining her secondary education at the St John’s College and St Stanislaus College, Henry pursued a Diploma in Administrative Professional Studies, Public Management and then went on to obtain her law degree.
During her LEC programme at HWLS, she was active in other areas serving as the Welfare Officer of the Guyana Jurisdiction Committee, and a member of the HWLS Welfare Committee advocating and supporting students’ welfare.
Henry has been in the public service for 12 years and had served in the legal fraternity, before she decided to become a lawyer.
According to the Guyana Association of Women’s Lawyers, her work experience includes a stint at the Supreme Court of Judicature as a Clerk; at the Health Ministry as a Confidential Secretary; at the Attorney General’s Chambers as Personal Assistant to the Solicitor General and at the NGO National Coordinating Coalition as Policy/Advocacy Officer, Technical Officer and Policy and Projects Development Manager.
She will be returning to the public sector and practising general law.
Outside of her academics, Henry has been a volunteer Peer Educator for over 15 years, educating youths on HIV/AIDS and other health and social issues. She also serves as a volunteer with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) from 2020 to present.
“I’ve been giving back to country even before embarking on this legal journey… and I will continue to give back to my country as a volunteer. In my legal career, I plan to continue with the same zest and the same energy to ensure I stay on course.”
While Henry is now embarking on her legal career, she already has her eyes set on the bench.
“In my legal journey, I hope to one day enter the bench. I aspire to become either a magistrate or a judge. So, I’ll basically be practising and doing all that is necessary to get there,” she expressed.
In the meantime, Henry outlined that her legal education was not completed as she intended to continue to pursue various areas in law with the aim of eventually specialising.
Her advice to students studying is to “Stay the course, do not give up. Just keep reading and going. Your family could be your biggest support, so you have to try to nurture those family relationships so that they can continue to be there for you, because you can’t do it alone.”