Distinguished Scholars Inspired by Alumni


Aria Branch ’05 returned to CHC to offer remarks at the Distinguished Merit Scholars Recognition Dinner. A Duke and Harvard grad, Aria encouraged our young scholars to “stick their neck out to make progress and find their voice.”

Senior Maddy Old ’17 offered this introduction for our Distinguished Scholars Dinner Keynote Address from Aria Branch ’05. Here is a link to her remarks: https://youtu.be/wn_ZxWr7jqU


I’m honored to introduce tonight’s keynote speaker, Aria Branch. Aria graduated from Cape Henry Collegiate in 2005 and continued her education at Duke University for her undergraduate years where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and African American Studies in 2009. Following her time at Duke, she attended Harvard Law School, graduating J.D. in 2012.


While at Cape Henry, Aria played a huge role as editor of the Cape Henry newspaper The Lighthouse, taking it from a pamphlet to an actual newspaper and earning her own office. She also played basketball throughout high school, and a teammate from Cape Henry helped her decide to attend Duke University.  She went into college intending to be a journalist, but quickly realized her path was to become a lawyer. Since then, Aria has followed her dream and become a member of both the Virginia and District of Columbia Bars.

Today, she practices Political Law at Perkins Coie LLP in Washington D.C, where she has worked for the past three years. Her firm represented Hillary Clinton’s campaign, along with other political parties, candidates, and PACS. Aria’s job consists mainly of working on redistricting and voting rights cases, specifically challenging voting rights and voter ID laws. Two of the cases she has worked on have gone before the Supreme Court and in Virginia and she is currently representing Ralph Northam’s campaign while he runs for governor.

Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, Aria told herself she wanted to protect rights for the disenfranchised and help spread the right to vote. Since then, she has done just that through her work as a civil rights lawyer focusing on Political Law. Aria has had many victories in the courtroom since beginning her time at Perkins Coie that have led to fairer voting laws.

I had the privilege of speaking with Aria, and she is not only incredibly inspiring, but also amiable.  Aria has done what few lawyers manage to do; practice what she is passionate about. Aria is extremely intelligent, hardworking, and passionate and Cape Henry is excited to welcome her back as our keynote speaker tonight.