Ballard Spahr has awarded the first Diversity = Excellence Scholarship to Christiana Sanders, a member of Constitution High School's Class of 2010. The $2,500 award was presented to Ms. Sanders at the school's first graduation, held last night at the National Constitution Center.

The scholarship was created to defray college costs for students interested in careers in law whose background and experience would increase diversity in the legal profession. Candidates must also have demonstrated academic achievement and leadership in the community or school or extracurricular activities and been accepted into an accredited college or university.

"Christiana is the ideal recipient of our first scholarship," said Virginia G. Essandoh, Ballard Spahr's Director of Diversity and a member of the committee that selected the scholarship winner. "She is a driven young lady who took advantage of all of her school's unique offerings to foster and grow her interest in law. She's known since she entered Constitution High that she wants to be a lawyer in the entertainment industry, and we're thrilled to help her pursue that goal."

Ms. Sanders is one of 77 students in the first graduating class of the civics and social studies magnet school, which opened in 2006 through a partnership with the National Constitution Center, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, and Ballard Spahr. Firm attorneys support the school through mentoring, job shadowing, coaching of mock-trial teams, service on the school advisory board, and other initiatives. Ballard Spahr funded construction of the school's mock-trial courtroom and an attorney's service as a teaching intern for the 2009-2010 school year and annually hires students from the school as summer interns.