How the Backstreet Boys helped student get into law school
Priscilla Consolo sure knows how to stand out in a crowd.
Consolo, a Fordham University senior from Gravesend, was taking part in a group interview with the dean of admissions at Georgetown University Law School when the dean asked each student to name something unusual about themselves.
While most of the students talked about their academic achievements, Consolo took a different route. She told the dean she was a big fan of the Backstreet Boys.
A few weeks later, she received an acceptance letter in the mail from Georgetown. The dean mentioned her Backstreet Boys comment. “It showed that he remembered me,” Consolo told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Consolo has also been accepted to New York University Law School, Emory Law School and the law schools at Fordham University, Boston University, Boston College, George Washington University, Notre Dame University, Vanderbilt University and the College of William & Mary. She is awaiting word from other law schools she has applied to, including Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern and Duke.
“I have always been interested in the law. If you have a law degree, there are so many areas you can go into. I like the idea of public service. I also have an interest in the music industry,” she said.
She expects to make a decision in April as to which law school she will attend.
Consolo, who will graduate from Fordham in May, has a 3.971 GPA. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, serves as president of Fordham’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (History Honor Society), participates in student government and has volunteered for the campus ministry since her freshman year.
But in the Gravesend-Bensonhurst area, Consolo is known for more than her academic achievements.
She is a civic leader who founded the anti-litter campaign Clean-Up and Speak-Up with Assemblymember William Colton and Councilmember Mark Treyger, and has led fights against a school co-location and the city’s plans to build a trash-processing plant on shore of Gravesend Bay.
Her civic involvement began early, when she was a junior at Midwood High School. She learned that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) was planning to house another school in the same building as Intermediate School 303 in Coney Island, a process known as a co-location. I.S. 303 was her alma mater and she believed the co-location would make the school overcrowded.
Her mother, Marylou Consolo, was the president of the PTA at I.S. 303 at the time. “I said, ‘We can’t let this happen. We have to do something.’ My mom said, ‘What are you going to do?’” she recalled.
Consolo emailed every elected official in the neighborhood. Colton responded and offered help in the fight. She formed a coalition, started a petition drive that garnered 10,000 signatures, and organized rallies against the co-location. The DOE dropped the plan.
That fight led Colton to offer Consolo a summer internship in his district office, where she helped constituents. Impressed by her work ethic, Colton gave her a job on his staff. She juggles working for Colton with her college studies.
Consolo is also active in her church, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, where she has volunteered as an altar server and served as a lector.
When she was a teenager, she was a member of the church’s teen group. “We met every Friday night. We would talk about self-esteem, substance abuse, divorce; things that a lot of kids were living with,” she said.
The teen group, which was mentored by Barbara Dattilo, also branched out. “We did a lot of community service. We fed the homeless, had soup suppers and visited nursing homes. We sent cards and gifts to soldiers overseas. We had a program called HANDS, which stood for Helping the Aging, Needy, Disabled and Sick,” Consolo said.
It fostered in her a desire to be a leader. “It certainly fostered a love of community service. I found that while I was helping other people, it was also helping me,” she said.
After Datillo died of cancer, Consolo worked to convince the City Council to name the street outside the church in her memory. The street-naming ceremony took place last year.
Consolo credits Dattilo and the Rev. Thomas Leach, the former pastor of Our Lady of Grace, with helping to launch her on her public service mission.
“He’s been a mentor to me since I was in the eighth grade and he’s given me lots of guidance and encouragement over the years. I find his selflessness and kindness extremely inspiring,” she said of Leach.
Consolo is grateful to her parents, Marylou and Peter, for giving her a strong foundation; her sister Gabriella, “who is always there for me;” Colton; Treyger; and her boyfriend, Adam Diamond, a constituent aide to state Sen. Roxanne Persaud.
Consolo and Diamond, who first met at a Brooklyn Democratic County Committee dinner at the El Caribe Country Club, have been dating for three years.
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