Gia Beaton knows exactly what she wants to do once she graduates May 30 from St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown.

“Eventually I want to become the first black female Supreme Court justice,” the Loveville resident said. “Whatever route is best to get me there, I’m up for the challenge.”

Gia said that “I realized I like law in the ninth grade, and I wanted to do something that no one has ever done before.” To that end, she took advanced placement government and politics classes and discovered that “as I learned more, I was intrigued more.”

Prior to becoming the first African-American female Supreme Court justice, Gia said she knows she will have to “become a lawyer or judge clerk… (and) either work for a private firm or become a state's attorney.

“I want to be a voice that people are willing to listen to and I love using my voice for those who cannot use their own,” she said of her desire to practice law.

Looking to her future as a lawyer and judge, Gia has participated in the school’s mock trial programs. “There is an adrenaline rush you get doing a closing argument or during your direct and cross examinations,” she said. “I love that, and they say if you love what you do, then it isn’t work.”

She also interned at a local law firm where she prepared documents for cases and became editor-in-chief of a book detailing the history of the attorneys in that practice.

Being the first at something is nothing new to Gia. She ran a financial literacy workshop for students that was funded by Chesapeake Bank. “This was the first time anyone ever did something like that,” she said of the workshop that taught younger children the importance of budgeting and saving.

In addition, Gia has tutored middle school students in math and English. She also served as secretary for the St. Mary’s County Association of Student Councils.

Gia, who attended public education from kindergarten through the eighth-grade, said she decided to attend St. Mary’s Ryken High School because “when I was in the eighth-grade, I graduated at the top of my class and decided I wanted to compete at a high level.”

Her younger brother Jordan, is a ninth-grader at the school.

And, while Ryken’s academics attracted her to the school, Gia, who is a member of St. Peter Claver Parish in St. Inigoes, said the Catholic identity of the school “turned out to be more important to me than I first realized.”

“I like that you can go to daily Mass, there is a school-wide Mass and a lot of teachers pray at the start of class,” she said.

With a 4.4 overall grade point average and ranked in the top 10 percent of her class, Gia is a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the student government, served as class president, was active in planning proms and homecomings, participated in a Christmas program providing gifts for children whose parents could not afford to purchase presents, and helped created a St. Mary’s Ryken float for Leonardtown’s Veteran’s Day parade.

She will attend Villanova University in the fall where she will pursue a double major of political science and business with an eye to attending law school.

“I am really excited, and this is where I want to be,” she said.