Michael A. Tilghman II 2014
Bailey & Ehrenberg, PLLC
At the time of his application to the Scholarship Fund in his senior year at T.C., Michael Tilghman II wrote, “For me, success has meant turning around my academic career in the middle of my junior year. Up until that time, I never really worked hard in school and was content with average work.” Michael continued, “What really turned me around was a talk with my guidance counselor. He told me that to get into a good college I would have to start working harder and get better grades. I took his advice and discovered that I actually enjoyed doing well much more than I enjoyed holding back…”
From average student to high achiever, Michael has been on a trajectory of success since his last year at T.C. Williams. He imagined that becoming a lawyer would help him launch a career in politics. While Michael has yet to decide if politics is the ultimate path for him, he has become an attorney and achieved much in the years since leaving T.C.
Michael’s three years as a peer mediator stand out for him as a lasting memory of his time at T.C. As a senior Michael described his work as a peer mediator this way, “Every time I am faced with another one of my peer’s problems, I feel a sense of integrity. In return this has helped me to seek out and conquer my problems in my quest to succeed”.
Michael cited his counselor, Mr. Wooldridge, his AP English teacher Patrick Welsh, and his Spanish teacher, Ms. Harms, as adults who had a big impact on him. Michael recalls that Ms. Harms pushed him and believed in him. Ms. Harms was prescient in her analysis of Michael when she wrote, “Michael is an extremely conscientious student who demonstrates great tenacity to be a success at whatever he undertakes. He is truly an achiever who is totally disciplined when it involves any academic endeavor”.
Michael graduated cum laude from George Washington University where he was a Community Facilitator and a member of the Student Judicial Board. While in college, a partner in the law firm where Michael interned wrote of him, “He is mature far beyond his years. He has a vision, even while entering his sophomore year, about the direction of his life”. During law school at Cornell he completed an externship with the D.C. Attorney General’s office and was a law clerk at the U. S. Attorney’s office in the Northern District of New York.
Michael currently works as an associate attorney at the firm of Bailey & Ehrenberg, PLLC in Washington, D.C. where he specializes in employee benefits and litigation. He was recently named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a rating service of outstanding lawyers. Michael describes his career as fulfilling and rewarding because of the intellectual stimulation it provides, his ability to help others, and the fun that the challenges provide for him.
During Michael’s school years he was raised by a single mother. Achieving a higher education was a strong family value. Michael and his sister were the first in their family to graduate from college with their mother completing her degree a few years later. Michael now lives in Alexandria with his wife Danielle and was appointed by the Alexandria City Council to serve as a citizen member of the Alexandria Criminal Justice Board.
Michael received the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria General Award as well as three years of renewal funds. In a letter that Michael graciously wrote to the Fund while a senior at George Washington University he said, “This fund truly has been instrumental in helping to foot the bill for an expensive university. Too often we think that scholarships between $1000 and $3000 do not help to put a substantial dent in the tuition bill. However, when used correctly this money can take a huge burden off the continuing college student. “
Recently Michael mentioned that he still feels grateful for the scholarship saying, “To me it provided comfort to have guaranteed money for my education. It is encouraging that the T.C. community cares enough to provide money through the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria”.
T.C. Williams, Class of 2001
B.A., International Affairs, George Washington University 2005
J.D. Cornell University 2008