Genarlow Wilson was set to graduate this weekend with honors from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a degree in sociology, when he hit the snag that so many seniors run into just days before commencement: he learned he was short the total number of credits needed to participate in the ceremony.
Wilson has already enrolled in summer sessions to make up the nine-credit shortfall and will have completed all of his requirements by the end of July. He will participate in graduation in May 2013 and radio personality and philanthropist Tom Joyner will be the commencement speaker.
While disappointed at having to delay graduation, Wilson said he will not let this deter him from completing his degree and that it is an opportunity to encourage others who have hit bumps in the road to not give up.
“I hit a little speed bump,” Wilson told Nikki Woods of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, “but I remain positive. At first, I was a little hurt because I had worked so hard this year. … I want everyone to know that when you face some obstacles, you can’t let them keep you down. Sometimes you don’t get everything you want right away. You just have to work a little harder to get it.”
Wilson is just one of the many success stories created by the Tom Joyner Foundation, but he may be the best known.
As a 17-year-old, he was convicted and sent to prison in 2004 under a law intended to catch sexual predators having sex with children under the age of 16. He and a group of friends at a 2003 party at a hotel were videotaped having sex with two teen-aged girls, one of whom was 15. Wilson spent nearly three years in prison, part of a mandatory 10-year sentence upon conviction and a permanent listing on the sexual offender registry. Wilson decided to challenge his conviction, while several of his co-defendants pleaded guilty in exchange for reduced time in prison, but they still were required to be listed on the sex offender registry.
The law was later amended but the changes were not retroactive, which could have freed Wilson immediately. Wilson was ordered freed by the state Supreme Court in 2007, which declared his 10-year sentence “cruel and unusual punishment.” The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and he was ordered to serve one year in jail. He was immediately released for time served.
The Tom Joyner Foundation then took Wilson under its wing and helped him enroll in Morehouse.
“If it wasn’t for the Tom Joyner Foundation, I really don’t know where I would be right now with my life. I don’t know what I have done,” Wilson told BlackAmericaWeb.com in March.
At Morehouse, Wilson and some of his friends started a group called Young King Care, with a goal of mentoring and offering support to Atlanta-area youths.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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