Valdosta Daily Times

School News

June 12, 2013

Worth Every Sacrifice

VALDOSTA — Born and raised in Boston, Mass., Anthony Potter, 33, grew up poor in terms of material wealth but rich in love, knowledge, and determination. He learned at an early age that success would not come easy but that hard work combined with perseverance and a positive attitude would help him reach his goals.

Potter will realize one of these goals in July 2014 when he graduates from Valdosta State University with a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy. He hopes to use his skills to help at-risk, inner city kids, particularly in the Atlanta area, break any negative cycles — poverty, violence, intolerance, abuse, and so on — and realize their potential to live a positive, productive life. 

Before learning about and joining the ranks of VSU’s best, brightest, and definitely most determined, Potter intended to pursue higher education at Boston University. However, he entered Morehouse College in Atlanta as a freshman in August 1998; a high school teacher had asked him if he had ever heard of the all-male, historically black college in Georgia, and he decided to schedule a visit.

“I fell in love with Morehouse College,” he said. “The students had a real passion for education and changing the world. They were doing things and helping others. They had ideals. They were how I envisioned myself being, which was very different from the kids I grew up around. I knew that I needed to surround myself with people who inspired me and made me want to work harder and be better.”

It was at Morehouse College that Potter discovered his purpose and VSU.

At the age of 18, Potter and three friends moved to Atlanta. One of his first lessons was to memorize a quote by Benjamin E. Mays, a minister, educator, scholar, social activist, and president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967 — “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive, and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”

“This is one of the first quotes that we had to remember as a freshman at Morehouse College …,” he said, “and it has been one that has stayed with me until present day.”

 “I believe,” he added, “that my current education and training in marriage and family therapy will equip me with the necessary skills to be better prepared to take on the task of providing professional services within the mental health field … especially within the … (black) community.”

Potter left Morehouse College after three years because of financial issues. He just did not have enough money to complete his final year of study.

“I left college in 2001,” he explained, “and began working at a group home for at-risk youth in Atlanta — where my future as a mental health professional was clarified. I was a resident advisor, and my duties were to monitor and log the activities of the youth, prepare meals, transport children to medical and other appointments, and attend weekly treatment team meetings.” For two-plus years, he worked primarily with black children between the ages of 6 and 17.

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