Guest Speaker visits Gables to Inspire HSPL


Michelle Devos

Michelle Devos, a motivational speaker and recent graduate of the University of Miami law school, partnered with CGHS through the Street law Program to give an anti-bullying presentation on campus.

Chase Bagnall-Koger, News Editor

Coral Gables senior high welcomed Michelle Devos, a motivational speaker and recent graduate of the University of Miami law school, on Friday, Jan. 25 to give a presentation to a part of the academy.

Just 23 years old, Devos is a part of the Street Law program Through the University of Miami (UM), a legal educational outreach program where law students teach high schoolers about the law and current issues in the world today. Mr. Garcia is responsible for maintaining this partnership between  UM and the Coral Gables Senior High School Law program, and frequently organizes events where high school students can see the real-life applications of their studies

After giving an anti-bullying seminar in Mr. Garcia’s class, Devos moved to the auditorium to speak to the bottom 35% of the Academy of Health, Science, Public Service, and Law. She encouraged them to overcome obstacles and improve their grades by sharing her personal story. 

Devos was diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s syndrome at an early age. Throughout her childhood, she was bullied by her peers for the differences in the way she thought, as well as her physical appearance and interests. 

Over the years, Devos was able to overcome this adversity and forge her way into leading a successful college career.  After attending law school, she began to speak up and share her identity with others, encouraging them to know their self-worth and continue on towards their goals despite both internal and external doubt. “I never imagined that I had the strength to be doing these presentations,” Michelle Devos said.

At times, lower-performing students may be discouraged or distracted from their academics because of personal problems that consume time and energy. Low self-esteem and bullying have a negative correlation with academic performance and lead to a greater dislike of school in general.

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“I choose to be a survivor, rather than a victim. I realized that I have a story to share, and my story may have the power to have an impact on at least one student’s life.”

— Michelle Devos

One of the major themes of her speech was that not only is it critical to be kind to other people –  it is also important to be kind to yourself. Self-doubt can be even more crippling as doubt from external sources, so the best way to be more productive and successful is to truly believe it is possible, she asserts.

“It was great. Half of them were in tears at the end of the presentation; it was that good,” Mr. Garcia said.

Through the Street law program, Devos continues to deliver presentations sharing her personal journey to success, and inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.