With the nightly news constantly blasting out reports of so-called black male criminality and the violent, often deadly, encounters with police, businessman Harold Maurice Hardnett decided to flip the script on the misguided national narrative. Hardnett started a scholarship drive to illuminate young black men who are succeeding scholastically and prepared to be productive contributors to their society.
“These are just four examples of young African American males who are doing things to be prosperous in their lives. You won’t see this on the news,” he said. “If they had their pants sagging and getting into mischievous things, they’d be on the front page.”
Hardnett founded the Hardnett Foundation Scholarship fund, which hosted its inaugural awards reception at Adams Park on Atlanta’s southwest side in order to celebrate the young men but to also provide further encouragement and financial support to strive for greatness as they did in preparatory school.
“It takes a village to raise a child. We all have to help out to help raise our children and make things better in our community. We can’t do this all by ourselves, but this is a little bit that I can contribute to help out,” Hardnett after giving each of the four young men $500 scholarships.
“The four students that I picked, they are all going to college, they are all honor students and all are doing extracurricular activities in school. With the way the school system is set up, we need all the help we can get. These kids are a prime example of ‘it’s not where you come from, but where you are going.’”
Take a look at the four students who were honored and what schools they will be attending:
Austin Harrison, graduating from Benjamin E. Mays High School. He graduated with a 3.5 GPA, was accepted to over 25 schools, including his “firs choice” at the University of Georgia in Athens in the fall. The drum major and church received “my first drum sticks at 5 years old and had been practicing ever since.” He was intrigued and tried out for the middle-school band. “After matriculating from middle school, I continued to improve my skills. In the eighth grade, I saw the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra peform. And ever since then I’ve wanted to perform with them,” he said. My dream was to become a drum major when I became a freshman at Benjamin E. Mays High School. By that time, I had the ability to play 26 professional instruments.”
Joesph Grundy, graduating from Frederick Douglass High School, is going to the University of Kentucky. He played varsity football, marching band, loves composing songs. “Music gives me peace,” he said. “Music has always been the first thing in my life. I’ve been playing since I was 7 years old, I think of playing piano. I’ve been playing for about 12 years. I can also play other instruments. I have taken what I’ve learned to create my own songs. I feel like I’m in my own world. My room is like my playground.”
Darryl Terry II, will graduate from Douglass High School with over $2 million scholarships and attend the Georgia Institute of Technology (better known as Georgia Tech) with a double major in political science and entertainment with a minor in English. Terry’s battles in life have been many, but it makes this successful matriculation from high school to an elite American institution of higher learning that much sweeter. “I’ve had to endure many times by overcoming adversity. I’ve been forced to readjust to be successful. I’m very aware of the impact that violence has had in our lives. I had extreme chronic asthma, which impacted his health and weight and became the victim of relentless bullying in elementary, middle and high school.” Terry channeled his frustration into his academics, music and football. He never thought about taking his own life. “I leaned that nothing could destroy me and could distract me from success,” he said. He learned to love and accept himself. He also had to overcome some extreme turbulence as a kid: in a matter of months, Terry and his family lost their home, car and means to travel or the material possessions that people need in our lives.”
Now, as Terry prepares for Georgia Tech, he is well armed for any adversity he may encounter in the future.
Quantavious Jones, also from Douglass High School, will attend University of Florida with plans to become a psychiatrist. He paid homage to his father to helping him keep his focus on his school work and away from detours down destructive paths while navigating his turbulent adolescence.
Southwest Atlanta businessman starts scholarships for inner city students was originally published on atlantadailyworld.com