A humanities elective he took at Laurel Ridge led Handley High School graduate Max Schweiger on his path to becoming a lawyer.
Schweiger graduated from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in May. He is working for a real-estate firm as he prepares to take the bar exam in October.
After graduating from Handley in 2010, Schweiger enrolled at Laurel Ridge. He graduated in 2012 with an associate degree in liberal arts.
Schweiger then transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University where he studied philosophy, graduating in 2014.
“What really drew me to philosophy was my first ethics class at Laurel Ridge,” he said. “It kind of opened my eyes to philosophy.”
He spent 2½ years working at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where he was a banquet chef and managed the café.
“I’ve always been pretty passionate about cooking, but I knew I wanted to go back to school eventually,” said Schweiger, whose father Christian Schweiger, is also an Laurel Ridge alumnus and part owner of Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery in Winchester.
While “the philosophy mill isn’t hiring,” the field boils down to being able to argue points, and Schweiger said he knew what he could do with those skills.
“That’s essentially what law is,” he said. “The more I got into the idea of law school, the more it interested me.”
While finishing up his high school career, Schweiger didn’t know what his next steps would be.
“Instead of wasting time and money going to a four-year school and not knowing what I wanted to study, I liked the guaranteed admissions I could get by attending Laurel Ridge,” he said. “That way I could get my general education classes out of the way.
“I thought it was really just a smart path, a great way to save money and get a really valuable education.”
For those who graduate from Laurel Ridge with their associate degree and a minimum grade-point average, there is guaranteed admission to more than 30 colleges and universities around Virginia.
In addition to the money he saved, Schweiger also liked heading off to VCU with a degree already under his belt.
Besides his ethics professor, Margaret Ross, other favorite teachers of his were Psychology Professor Stephen Wisecarver and late math instructor Evan Humbert – both of whom also taught his father.
“Dr. Wisecarver wrote one of my letters of recommendation to law school,” Schweiger said. “I remember [Mr. Humbert] to be really kind and insightful.”
While he intends to stay in Louisville for the time being, Schweiger looks back on his time at Laurel Ridge fondly.
“I really did enjoy my time there,” he said. “I thought the education was really high-level. The professors are experts in their field and pretty big names. I’m really proud to be an alumnus.”