(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – A picture of a modern woman, Elizabeth Edwards has been called funny, intelligent and caring. Proclaiming herself as curious, Edwards has strived to a balance between her career and family life. A graduate of the University of North Carolina Law School, where she and John Edwards met, she worked as a lawyer until 1996.
Before the death of her first son Wade in 1996, Edwards was a successful lawyer working for both the private and public sector, and long time volunteer. The death of her son had a deep impact on Edwards, who gave up her job as a lawyer to devote herself to community and civic service.
During her legal career, Edwards worked for the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community Development and helped with the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act. She also served as an adjunct professor at UNC Law School.
Focused on children and families, Edwards and her husband helped create the Wade Edwards Learning Lab for high school students in Raleigh. The learning lab, in honor of their first son, served as a prototype for other projects, and there are currently three such learning labs in the state as well as a statewide fiction-writing contest in his name.
The labs are computer and homework help centers, where students can find information not only on academic help, but also on colleges and post high-school opportunities. Open to all local high school students, the center also gives students access to email and the Internet.
“We need to make sure they have the tools they need,” said Edwards. “Everybody should have a chance to succeed.”
If her husband is elected, Edwards plans on focusing her energies on after school programs such as the one she helped start in North Carolina. Edwards feels it is important to give all students the tools necessary to succeed in the world, as well as provide them with opportunities to do so. The Wade Edwards Learning Lab is open until 10 p.m. in order to facilitate student development and gathering.
A proud mother of four, Edwards feels she understands the issues facing education today. Her eldest daughter, Cate, recently graduated from Princeton University, and has been a source of knowledge for her mother.
“She says her generation is not looking at as much opportunity as their parents,” said Edwards, who agrees with her daughter and thinks her husband and John Kerry will help reverse that.
“We can do something immediately about this,” said Edwards, who speaks regularly about education on the campaign trail.
Edwards has taken an active and vocal role on the Kerry/Edwards ticket this year, speaking around the country on healthcare, the economy and education. She regularly appears in swing states, and on television to help the Democratic ticket.
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