New law students lend a hand to Guilford County Schools

From painting hallways to spreading mulch, members of Elon Law’s Class of 2025 assisted local educators in August with preparing schools for the start of the academic year through the annual Elon Law Reaches Out service initiative for incoming students.

A longstanding tradition of service for new Elon Law students returned this summer with a small twist.

Elon Law Reaches Out, an annual student-run program hosted in August as part of Orientation activities for each entering class, partnered with Guilford County Schools to clean, paint, and polish eight schools that serve communities across Greensboro.

Laké Laosebikan-Buggs, Elon University’s Director of Inclusive Excellence for Graduate and Professional Education, helped connect the Elon Law Orientation Mentors with Guilford County Schools to establish a formal partnership. (Photo by Elliott Millner L’23)

Nearly every student in the Class of 2025 signed up for a part-day shift during the month as they weeded and mulched garden beds, painted and cleaned hallways, and assisted teachers with preparing their classrooms and bulletin boards to welcome children back to school.

Unlike previous years that saw Elon Law students serving a variety of smaller agencies, this year’s project was with one (albeit very large) partner at a variety of sites. Guilford County Schools instructs nearly 70,000 students across 126 schools, making it the third-largest public school system in North Carolina.

Individual public schools were occasionally helped during Elon Law Reaches Out in prior years in an ad hoc fashion. Law students who led efforts in 2023 said the formal partnership with Guilford County Schools made volunteer experiences more meaningful.

“A lot of schools don’t have as much help as they need,” said Brianna Brooks L’24, who co-chaired with Daphne Myers L’23 the Elon Law Reaches Out committee organized through the law school’s Orientation Mentors program. “They don’t have the funding. They don’t have the resources. … And by helping these schools, you never know whose lives you’re going to touch. You never know who you’re going to impact.”

Student service work also attracted media attention from WXII 12 News, which reported on their volunteer efforts. (Photo by Elliott Millner L’23)

The law school’s initial connection to Guilford County Schools was facilitated by Laké Laosebikan-Buggs, Elon University’s director of inclusive excellence for graduate and professional education. Joshua Leeper, the school system’s program administrator for volunteers & community engagement, then connected Brooks and Myers to the principals who readily welcomed the assistance.

No school was more than a 10-minute drive from Elon Law’s downtown Greensboro campus. Efforts captured the attention of regional news media that visited Bessemer Elementary School to interview students and the school principal for an evening newscast.

Orientation Mentor Trey Schopen L’23 (Photo by Elliott Millner L’23)

“We made a difference, and even if children don’t notice that there aren’t sneaker scuffs on newly painted walls, the teachers sure do,” Myers said. “The first day of school is scary! Helping to make classrooms and buildings a welcoming environment for kids is big thing.”

They’re hoping to do it again next year when Elon Law welcomes the Class of 2026.

Participating Schools

  • The Academy at Lincoln
  • Bessemer Elementary School
  • Falkener Elementary School
  • General Greene Elementary School
  • Hairston Middle School
  • Irving Park Elementary School
  • Lindley Elementary School
  • Washington Montessori School