SAC grad goes Ivy League

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Alumna overcomes childhood in rough S.A. neighborhood to graduate law school with honors.

By Austin P. Taylor

The journey from where one started to the present is rarely simple.

Life tends to be filled with zigs that zag and zags that zig.

This is where Miranda Jones, a former student here, comes in.

Raised in a bleak part of Southside San Antonio, she graduates this month from Harvard Law School and hopes to return here to practice criminal law.

Jones attended this college from 2009-2011, earning an associate degree in English.

She received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Tennessee.

“She definitely saw community college as a transition from one part of her life to the next,” English Professor Jane Focht-Hansen said. “She found a good place to plant herself, and she found people to help her grow.”

After leaving Tennessee, Jones began teaching English in the South Korean province of Gangwon-do.

She taught there for two years.

“Originally, I wanted to practice human rights law around North Korea,” Jones said. “When I got there, I saw that there were too many western influences in that conflict.”

While she eventually chose to pursue a different career path, Jones didn’t walk away from South Korea empty-handed.

Her experience there propelled her onto the path that would land her at Harvard.

Jones began attending Harvard in 2014.

During this time, she had to begin acclimating to an environment she had little experience in.

“I’d say that it was a unique transition,” Jones said.

Jones is no stranger to the impact crime can have on daily life.

“I grew up in a rough neighborhood in San Antonio,” Jones said. “My mother would throw herself over me whenever she’d a hear a car backfire.”

Jones would often run by heroin needles in the streets of her neighborhood.

Her experience living in a community marked by crime drove Jones forward in her educational pursuits.

Those experiences weren’t exactly common at Harvard.

“Some people seemed naïve,” Jones said. “There are a lot of wonderful people at law school, but there’s also a lot of privileged people.”

This made it hard to identify with her fellow classmates, but she eventually grew accustomed to the environment.

“Something that I loved about SAC was its diversity,” Jones said. “Once you’ve learned to interact with someone who’s different from you, it doesn’t matter where you are.”

So Jones worked her way through Harvard Law.

She’s spent her time there focused on criminal justice.

Jones will graduate from law school May 25.

She hopes to return to this city and practice criminal law.

She has yet to confirm anything past that; however, she won’t let that slow her down.

“Once she set the wheels in motion for college, nothing seemed to stop her,” Focht-Hansen said.

Jones says she had a “wonderful home life” despite living in a rough part of town.

The combination of those memories convinced her to pursue criminal law.

“I like the idea of being a voice for the voiceless,” Jones said.

Despite her harsh upbringing, Jones has always tried to see the brighter side of the world.

“I’ve tended to find joy in everything,” Jones said. “I think that kind of idealism is what allows me to work the way I do; hope keeps you going.”


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