North Wilkes High School Alumni
Cody M. Poplin
Q: Year graduated from North Wilkes:
Q: List any education/degrees beyond high school:
A: B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; J.D., Yale Law School
Q: List Professional/Career Experience and why you chose your career path:
A: I am currently a law clerk to a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. I assist the judge in deciding cases and make sure he is prepared for oral argument and conferences with other judges. Since graduating from UNC, I have also worked at a think tank in India, the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Pentagon. After my clerkships, I plan to enter private practice as an attorney for a few years before resuming government service.
Q: If you could go back and give yourself advice as a high school student, what advice would you give and why. What advice would you give to high school students today?
A: The best advice I ever received actually came on my last day as a student at North Wilkes High School when Cathy Stanford signed my yearbook with these three short words: “Do NOT Settle.” That's all she wrote, but it's the only message I remember from a single yearbook. And it remains the clearest, best advice I have ever received. Anytime I have had to make a major decision in my life, I have paused to ask, "am I settling?" How I answered that question determined what I did next. The best I can do is repeat that advice: Do NOT Settle. The world you desire can be won.
Q: List or share any special memory from North:
A: There are too many to list. NWHS is a special place. But in the twilight of my memory, I often return to the way blue hour crept across the rolling hills by the tennis courts in late spring, and I wish for just a moment I could be there again.
Q: How has your NWHS education and experiences positively impacted your life?
A: I was fortunate to have excellent English and History teachers at NWHS. I use the skills I learned in those subjects every day. Without the strong foundation in writing and historical analysis I gained at NWHS, I likely would not have the career I have today.
Q: List any other achievements and honors received since graduation you would like to share:
A: Executive Editor, Yale Law Journal; Henry Luce Scholar; Herbert Scoville Jr. Scholar