Elvin Canario is a veteran. He is a husband and a dad of three young children. He is a friend, a mentor, and a role model. On Sunday, May 24th, Elvin became Touro Law Center valedictorian.
Elvin comes from humble beginnings. He says, "I come from a low-income family where neither of my parents, both of whom immigrated to this country, even finished high school. I knew that my parents were not going to be able to give me the guidance or capital to navigate through the college or law school experience." He continues, "But my parents believed in me. My mom bought me a suit and glasses that I did not need at a young age and declared I was her 'little lawyer.' Additionally, my parents taught me to shoot for the moon because even if I didn't make it, I would land among the stars." This support has motivated Elvin throughout his life and influenced his educational path.
After graduating from Central Islip High School, Elvin joined the United States Marine Corps. He was inspired to serve and further motivated by the tuition assistance. Elvin served as an Aviation Operation Specialist for four years before being honorably discharged. During his service to the country, he earned several accolades including Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Leader of Appreciation, and others. When he returned home, he earned his associate degree from Suffolk County Community College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stony Brook University.
After earning his degree, in pursuit of a lifelong dream, Elvin applied to law school and enrolled in Touro Law's four-year part-time program. He worked hard throughout his tenure, citing the support of friends and family as inspiration to work hard. "I could not be late for class or give anything less than my best because I knew the people who were rooting for me deserved my best effort. It kept me motivated and inspired throughout the past four years of law school and I will rely on this same ethic as I embark upon my career as a lawyer."
Elvin is looking forward to beginning his career in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in September. He aspires to help people and is interested in the area of immigration law. He is also intrigued by the idea of pursuing some work in politics. However, first there is law school graduation, which, happens to be taking place virtually due to the global pandemic. Certainly not the graduation that Elvin had in mind when in enrolling in law school and working so hard over the past four years. "Graduation is bittersweet. On one hand, I will not be able to hug and kiss members of my family or friends and will not have the opportunity to be hooded by my mentor. However, this does not change the fact that I did it. I am grateful to the administration who, on the drop of dime, were able to transition our curriculum to an online format fast enough for the Class of 2020 to graduate on time. I think that as the 'Corona Class' we will actually enter the field of law uniquely equipped to handle the situations and reality that face our country as this virus and its repercussions settle in to become the new normal.”
Elvin successfully balanced family, work and school to become the first law school graduate in his family, and he did it by graduating at the top of his class. He credits his faith, family and friends for his success. “First and foremost, I thank God, who has been, and continues to be, my source of strength, courage, and motivation through life. I am also thankful for my family and my loving wife, whose selfless efforts in raising our wonderful children, helped get me here. Finally, I also want to thank the wonderful faculty, staff, and colleagues at Touro Law, whose guidance and friendship, helped me cross the finish line. “
In his valedictorian speech, Elvin stated, "The law school experience was so unique and so fulfilling. The things we learned and experiences we will take from here cannot be quantified. Touro has helped us be prepared not only for the Bar Exam, but for the life ahead as we look to become advocates for the people that need our help."