Update: Darian Bryan learned he successfully passed the bar exam in Fall of 2016!
Words by Sophia Sunshine Vilceus
Seeing Elmont success stories from afar is fulfilling as it is. Even when we do not know, personally, some of the faces that we feature here at The Elmont Excelsior, there remains a collective pride, that I believe, we share when we see our fellow Elmont family winning in life.
Needless to say, there is an added sense of pride for me to write this article because this Hometown Hero happens to be one of my dearest friends — my chosen brother, as I call him.
Some of you may know Darian Bryan from his super soccer days at Elmont Memorial High School (and SUNY Old Westbury). Others may recognize him from the work he has done in the Elmont community. I know him as the quiet yet funny guy that has been a part of my life for the last decade-plus. Now, we all get to know Mr. Darian Bryan, J.D. — a recent graduate of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.
I reached out to Darian to hear more about his journey to and through law school. Here’s what I learned in our conversation together:
As a Class of 2007 Elmont graduate, Darian originally had intentions of going away to either Florida or Virginia for College. Because he knew that he eventually wanted to go to Law School, he opted to attend SUNY Old Westbury instead, which was a more financially sound decision. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Economics in 2011.
Darian decided to take two years off before he began Law School, a decision he says was a fruitful one because it enabled him to solidify his work ethic and discipline.
He began Law School in 2013 at Hofstra University, with an interest in Commercial Law, Real Estate Transactions, and Non-Profit Work, and admits that it was rather difficult to get back into the swing of “school mode.”
I asked Darian about some of his initial reservations in regards to commencing Law School. Transparently, he responded, that he struggled with feeling as though he was not capable or adequate enough to make it through the rigorous program.
Darian admits that he wasn’t the best or most hard working student in High School, so he had moments of self-doubt. Being ever-resilient, Darian pushed through those moments of insecurity and continued to work towards his ultimate goal.
For the last three years, my friends and I would often joke with Darian, saying that we would only see him once a year if we were lucky. While in Law School, Darian made it clear that his time had to be limited — a decision that we all respected and understood, even though his presence was always missed.
For most of his studies, Darian worked two jobs. So, I found it appropriate that when asked what the biggest sacrifice he had to make in Law School was, he responded: time. Darian credits his Family, Friends, and especially his Girlfriend of many years (also an Elmont graduate) as his support system that helped him through Law School. He noted that even little conversations from his loved ones helped take his mind off the strenuous demands of Law School.
Darian confessed of the great impact that Elmont had and continues to have on his success. Living in Elmont his entire life has shaped him into the man that he has matured to be.
He fondly remembers Dutch Broadway educators like Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Alexander, as well as teachers from Elmont Memorial High School like Mrs. Giorgio, Mr. Indovino, and Mrs. Gilliam, just to name a few.
Darian says back at Elmont Memorial High School he didn’t always know which profession he wanted to pursue.
“Early on…I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Darian revealed. “I always knew I wanted to be in a position to help others but wasn’t exactly sure how to do that. The legal system/profession was something that always intrigued me, and I think it was about junior or senior year in high school when I decided that’s where I wanted to be.”
After receiving his J.D., Darian took a prep course to prepare for the Bar Exam which consisted of daily lectures, practice problems, and individual review of different subjects. In all, it was about 8-10 hours of studying each day. Darian completed his Bar Exam at the end of July and is awaiting his results.
We are so proud of Darian for his tenacity and his willingness to pursue his dreams. Personally, I can’t forget how loudly I cheered in the crowd at Old Westbury when he gracefully walked across the stage to receive his Degree.
I juxtapose that morning with the dignified celebration we had for him just a few weeks ago, celebrating his completion of Law School. Watching his evolution has been marvelous.
Hats off to you, Darian! We thank you for being an example to our community, particularly to our young men of color. Congratulations to Elmont’s soon-to-be Attorney! We are always rooting and thankful for all of your success.
Sophia Sunshine Vilceus is an Elmont Memorial High School alumna and Contributing Editor with The Elmont Excelsior. Sophia is currently based out of Maryland where she is an Adjunct Professor of English at Montgomery and Prince George’s Community College. She has been published in Heart & Soul Magazine and The Praying Woman. Sophia says her greatest life’s work so far is her latest book, The Last Pew: Journeying Back to God’s Will After an Affair, available for purchase now at Amazon.com.