Walton preparing for law school

December 4, 2014

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University senior Lakeisha Walton is the next in the ever-growing line of Dr. Justin Lawrence’s justice administration students to be accepted to law school. The toughest question for Walton is, “Which one should she attend?”

Walton said she will have that question answered by Saturday when she will be one of 77 graduates to receive their diplomas during Wayland’s December Commencement. The graduation will be held at 2 p.m. in Harral Auditorium.

Regardless of her final choice, Walton is committed to being successful at law school. She wants to not only earn her law degree, but earn a master’s in social work at the same time. Not an easy task, but Walton has always been a strong student, focused on academics, and she has received the nod of approval from law school professors who work with dual degree programs.

“(The professors) are telling me they wouldn’t recommend it,” Walton said. “But for someone like me, I will be able to handle it.”

Walton has already handled a lot in her young life. After graduating from Borger High School, she spent her first semester running track at college in Oklahoma. She did not enjoy the experience and looked to transfer. Walton’s older sister was a member of the Pioneer track team at Wayland and talked her into giving the West Texas school a try.

However, Walton’s athletic career was short-lived as compartment syndrome in both legs forced her to have surgery. Compartment syndrome is a condition in which excessive pressure builds up inside the body.

“There was too much pressure inside my legs when I run,” Walton said. “They are not sure how I got it and how it got in both legs and why it was so bad. It was bad enough that I had to have surgery to relieve some of the pressure.”

But as her track career was winding down, her academic career was just getting started. Walton came to Wayland to major in chemistry and minor in criminal justice. But once she got involved in Dr. Lawrence’s justice administration program, she decided to change her major.

Walton will graduate with a double major in criminal justice and sociology. It was by chance that Walton decided to pursue sociology. She didn’t want to minor in chemistry because she didn’t see a career path in the field. She knew Dr. Debra Lavendar-Bratcher, associate professor of sociology, from church and decided to take one of her courses. Sociology also fit into her career goals as she hopes to give a voice to those who don’t have one.

“I’ve thought about doing anything and everything related to women and children, abuse, domestic violence, child neglect, anything like that,” Walton said.

Her passion is driven by personal experience. Walton said she was in an abusive relationship in high school that ended only when he moved away and her parents would let her go with him.

“It was bad,” she said. “I had to get counseling for it because I had nightmares.”

Walton said every time she tried to leave, she got scared. She resigned herself to plans to get married, but her parents wouldn’t let her until she graduated high school. Once he had moved away, she was able to break free from the abusive cycle.

“It was a very traumatic time in my life,” she said. “I just came to terms with it a couple of years ago.”

Through it all, Walton said she has become a stronger person and she hopes to help others in that position.