A Quest to Serve: Monica Schomisch Bello
A Fond du Lac High School alumnus is using the community-oriented education she received in her days as a Cardinal to provide important legal resources to low-income individuals and families.
After high school, Monica Schomisch Bello (’02) would go on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then attended law school in Florida.
Bello now works with Florida Rural Legal Services, where she provides low-income people with legal services to which they otherwise would not have access.
“We’re a private, non-profit law firm,” Bello says. “If we didn’t help our clients with legal advice, form filing and legal representation, they wouldn’t be able to navigate the court system. We help a lot of people facing housing issues. We help people who are being illegally evicted, or who are being foreclosed on.”
Inspired at an early age
Bello first fell in love with community service and the Spanish language during her time at Fondy.
“The Spanish program and the teachers I had in Spanish classes all really fostered a love of learning,” she says. “They made learning fun—and they especially made learning the Spanish language fun.”
Fondy’s community-oriented approach to education continues to inspire the services Bello provides to this day.
“I believe that the opportunities I was presented with while in [high school] helped indirectly shape the direction I ended up going,” she says.
One of the opportunities Bello took advantage of during her time at Fondy was a program that allowed her to tutor students studying English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
“I had the opportunity to volunteer at Franklin Elementary School, in Fond du Lac, working with ESOL kids after school,” Bello says. “We tutored them. A couple of friends and I went there after school a lot to volunteer and work with the kids there.”
Bello says that Fond du Lac High School allows its students to explore and develop their passions.
“It was a great place to go school,” she says. “There are tons of different sports and clubs. If you have an interest, there’s somewhere at Fond du Lac you can explore that interest more.”
A dedication to service
At Florida Rural Legal Services, Bello assists a diverse population—including senior citizens and single mothers—with a wide range of complex legal issues.
“The services that we provide to low-income people in terms of legal resources are very important,” Bello says. “It’s very hard for people to navigate the court systems on their own. Two-thirds of our clients are women, and many of them are mothers.”
Volunteering through programs at Fondy and UW-Madison instilled in Bello a passion to serve others in meaningful ways.
“The volunteering experiences I had in high school helped cement the fact that I wanted to do something to help low-income people,” she says. “Low-income people can be marginalized in society, and so I thought that being an attorney would be the most effective way to try to help people and help make their voices heard.”