Less than three months after casting off his old prison badge, Genarlow Wilson has already replaced it with an official college ID card. Wilson, the young Atlanta man who was imprisoned for two years for consensual sex with a fellow teenager, will attend Morehouse College starting Monday.

“I didn’t want to waste any more time,” Wilson, who is starting as a part-time student with freshman English, reading and math courses, told ESSENCE. “I’d been waiting for years for an opportunity to come, and I am taking full advantage of it.”

Radio talk show host Tom Joyner’s foundation is giving Wilson a scholarship to cover his tuition and room and board. “When I first got home I did an interview with him, and he said he would help me get into school,” said Wilson. “There are not even words I can say to show my gratitude.”

Wilson, 21, chose Morehouse, a historically Black men’s college, because of the school’s rich history. “I know everyone that graduates from there ends up being professional and carries themselves respectfully,” he said. The former high school football star also hopes to play college football but is focusing solely on his studies for now. “I’m kind of nervous because I haven’t been in school since 2004,” he said. “And I know I have to study twice as hard as everybody else. But you can do anything that you set your mind to.”

Credit: AP Photo/W. A. Harewood

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