Cornelius Harper – Fairy tales do come true.
This story is a fairytale. However, the characters are real, not fictional. And it all began six years ago, right here at Future Foundation.
In 2011, when he was last featured in Future Foundation’s Impact Report, Cornelius Harper was about mid-way through his sophomore year at LaGrange College. Today, he’s planning for graduation in May.
In addition to maintaining a 2.9 grade point average, he has been working at the Boys and Girls Club in a similar capacity as the Future Foundation staff worked with him. He volunteers with the LaGrange School District, providing lectures and talks on the value of staying in school and following your dreams. And recently, he’s been working with the 100 Black Men of Georgia tutoring high school students on college entrance tests such as the PSAT, SAT and ACT.
Why is this a fairy tale?
Because Cornelius met his true love, Janvier Lewis, six years ago at Future Foundation’s teen center summer camp program. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Janvier attended our summer camp for three years. It was love at first sight for the dynamic duo, and a three-year courtship followed.
“We always go back and forth on who initiated communication. I say, she pursued me,” he jokes. Despite the fact that Janvier lived in Tennessee and only traveled to Georgia during the summer, the two maintained a long-distance relationship through their junior and senior years. Once they graduated, Cornelius decided to attend LaGrange College, 70 miles outside Atlanta, and Janvier decided to relocate to Metro Atlanta to attend The Art Institute. While they still didn’t live in the same city, they were able to spend time with each other when their busy schedules allowed.
As Cornelius wraps up his Bachelor’s degree, he is strongly considering attending graduate school at either LaGrange College or Georgia State. He likes the LaGrange community and feels he’s put down roots through his volunteer and other leadership experiences. He’s even received a job offer from the Boys and Girls Club to help run one of their new locations once he graduates.
In terms of his long-term goals, Cornelius says he wants to become a teacher. “There is a real need for male teachers here and I think I can make a difference”. When asked if his experience at Future Foundation has helped shape his career choices, he says definitely. It’s at Future Foundation where he was first provided the opportunity to work with younger students as a coach. “I like the development side of things. I like to help young people pursue something they are interested in”.
Cornelius now works as a college and career readiness case manager for Future Foundation. He’s excited about his future and feels he has the necessary tools to be successful in life and equip students for life beyond high school. “The future seems bright”, he says. We agree.