A compelling story is taking shape within the walls of Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando. Maria Reyes and her daughter, Eyesenia Reyes, both dean’s list honorees, are entering their third and final year of law school. The duo from Wimauma are setting new benchmarks for family achievement and aspirations.
Maria, who became a mother at 15, spent two decades in the dental field before heeding her family’s encouragement to return to school.
“My husband became an attorney at 38 and has been a driving force in my own academic journey. His support and belief in me were one of my biggest inspirations,” Maria stated.
After a seven-year journey to complete her associate degree, Maria graduated alongside Eyesenia.
“God’s timing is always perfect. Seeing our names together in the graduation program was divine intervention,” Maria recounted.
They both transitioned to the University of South Florida (USF) — Maria for a Bachelor of Arts in communication and Eyesenia for a Bachelor of Science in marketing with a sales concentration.
Following her mother’s passing in November 2019, Maria felt a renewed sense of purpose.
“My mom always told me I was destined to be a lawyer. Honoring her memory made pursuing this dream nonnegotiable,” said Maria, who is leaning toward a specialization in family law.
As Maria began preparing for the LSAT, Eyesenia, inspired by both family and professional experiences, decided to join her.
“My corporate manager suggested I consider law and had me shadow our in-house counsel. Alongside my dad’s legal career, this prompted me to take the LSAT,” said Eyesenia, who has found her niche in corporate law.
Both are not just academically synchronized with nearly identical GPAs and class rankings, but they are also best friends.
“We’re more than just mother and daughter; we’re classmates, study buddies and best friends, supporting each other through every challenge and triumph,” Eyesenia said.
“As the old adage goes, ‘age is just a number,’ and our family is living proof. If we can do it, so can you. We’re all writing our stories day by day, and sometimes we don’t realize that these stories can inspire others to take the next step in their own lives,” explained Maria as she reflected on her journey.
As they prepare for the July 2024 bar exam, another milestone is on the horizon — Maria’s younger daughter is set to graduate high school.
“It’s going to be a year of monumental achievements for our family,” said Maria, “and that makes it extraordinarily special.”