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 (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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