Attorney and former N.C. District Court Judge S. Quon Bridges spoke to students, faculty and staff at Vance-Granville Community College’s South Campus as part of a speakers’ series sponsored by the college’s Male Mentoring Success Initiative (MMSI), as the spring semester drew to a close. Among those in the audience were Granville Early College High School students.
Bridges recalled his mother, who had recently passed away at the time he spoke to students. She had encouraged her 11 children to read and to stay out of gangs, he told the audience. Bridges then recalled a harrowing incident from his childhood when he found his mother, injured and bleeding, at home one night.
“She told me that some young men had beaten and robbed her,” Bridges said. “I picked up my baseball bat. I wanted to go look for these guys. But my mother grabbed my arm and said, ‘Son, I can get back what was robbed, but if you go out to get revenge, and you get hurt or get in trouble, I can’t replace you. Don’t be like those young men who did this to me. Make something of your life.’” He added, “I try to encourage all young people to do the same.”
Bridges said that young people need to “feel good about themselves” and avoid illegal drug activity. “You all have potential to do great things in life,” he told his audience. “You’re responsible for yourself. No more excuses! Get out there and do the very best you can do.”
Success, Bridges advised them, will not happen overnight. He talked about how, when he was a child, he and each of his siblings were given a wall in their house, on which they could post what they wanted. He would cut out pictures of courtrooms, lawyers and judges to post on his wall as a way of visualizing his future.
Bridges received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and his Juris Doctorate from the North Carolina Central University School of Law. He was appointed by former Governor Mike Easley as a district court judge for the 9th Judicial District in 2007. Prior to this appointment, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for 17 years. He began his career working for the North Central Legal Assistance Program before becoming a private practice lawyer. Bridges also is currently a member of the Oxford board of commissioners.
He encouraged students to continue their education, keep working hard and believe in themselves.
Supported by a grant from the North Carolina Community College System, the MMSI at VGCC works to help male students stay in school and on track to graduate or transfer to a four-year university. For more information on the mentoring initiative, contact Anthony Pope at [email protected] or (252) 738-3395.