River Lewis is a 2018 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. He earned a B.A in Sociology.
Corella & Bertram Bonner Scholar
2018 Franklin E. Frazier Recipient
Eagle Scout Rank
2018 Maroon Tiger Activist of The Year
My name is River Jesse Lewis. I am one of six children on both my mother and father's side. My family is my support, with their prayers and blessing I would not have made it this far. My father passed away to cancer when I was young, so I had the tough task of growing up without him. I know he’s here cheering me on in spirit, and watching over my every move. My family is my wealth, and providing for them is my priority. I've always felt I must learn as much as I could, so that I am able to pour into others. I was raised on the idea that knowledge is power,
so what's the point of knowing if you’re gonna keep it all to yourself ?
All I've ever wanted to do was give, I have a big heart and a firm believer in " If you put positivity into the universe, the only thing it could give back is positivity." Giving has taken me to the next level in life on countless occasions. I am reminded of my blessings every day I'm able to swing my legs over the side of my bed and rise to a beautiful sun. I am coming to you in the humblest form, I am light and I have a path to illuminate.
During my adolescent years, I became a Boy Scout and earned the Eagle Scout Achievement. From that experience, I received a plaque with my name on it at my high school for the service project I lead during my senior year and my outstanding involvement with the community. After being accepted to Morehouse, I was awarded the Corella & Bertram Bonner Foundation Scholarship. The Bonner Scholars Program at Morehouse College seeks to utilize the Bonner Foundation as a philanthropic vehicle for developing and institutionalizing a campus-wide service initiative that will perpetuate a culture of service and foster civic engagement. Since 1992, Morehouse College has been among 25 institutions of higher learning to receive financial support from the Bertram & Corella Bonner Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey.
Bonner Scholars have earned the reputation of being among the College's premiere community servants. A Bonner Scholar's willingness to work as an advocate for positive social change through direct service, commitment to community, and interest in the public policy set him apart in the area of student leadership. The program was student-led, family oriented, and consequently taught me how to be a leader and to achieve positive impact starting at local and community levels and finally working my way up. My various service projects challenged me to think critically in order to discover multiple ways to bring about change socially, economically, and intellectually.
After leaving home to embark on my next educational pursuit, Morehouse College made visible the missing pieces I needed for growth in my life. Morehouse gave me representation, identity, and brotherhood. I will never forget how I felt when I walked onto my now alma mater’s campus for the first time. To see all those great men moving with such purpose set fire to my spirit in a preeminent way. Seeing these men who became my brothers was pivotal because, most importantly, they looked just like me. In that instant, the trajectory of my life changed. Seeing the positive representation gave me so much confidence because I finally felt like I belonged. As I matriculated through Morehouse, I realized the absence of my father seriously impacted my sense of identity. I needed a man to demonstrate what men are supposed to do. The lack of a reference point proved to be a challenge.
Morehouse and its lessons became that reference point. It showed me what identity was, and made me aspire to become an agent of change even before I left its gates. Morehouse illuminated the path for me to give back to this world while teaching me what manhood was. The atmosphere that the institution provided me ultimately pushed my service to the next level and gave me those missing pieces. Presently, I finally realize that I have become what I was subconsciously looking for throughout my adolescent years and college matriculation: the big brother I always needed. I had very few male role models that piqued my interest in positive community reinforcement growing up, and I had finally been given the platform to put my own plans for community change into action.
Upon Graduation, I received The Franklin Frazier Award, an award that is given to the graduating senior sociology major for exemplary community service and civic engagement characteristic of public service. Subsequently, my name was engraved on a Memorial Plaque, which is displayed in the Department of Sociology, Wheeler Hall, at Morehouse College. This will remain there for the rest of the college's existence. This is not a annual award, the sociology depatment has to unanimous decision. I was also voted on by my peers as the "Activist" in the Yearly "Man Of The Year" issue in the Maroon Tiger Magazine. I was also featured in a Cuba Edition of the Maroon Tiger
John Cooper is a 2019 graduate from the historic Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and a minor in Sociology. During the his adolescence years, John was drawn to basketball and track which kept him focused and on the right path. Living in 6 cities have John a unique experience growing up. Attending Morehouse allowed him to conceptualize his many experiences and observations growing up.
While at Morehouse, John was a 100m, 200m, and relay runner on Morehouse’s track team his freshman year where ended the year as a conference champion. Further into college, he found his passions in law, education, and the building of better communities.
While at Morehouse, John served as Vice President of Student Government Association where he: implemented a meal voucher program combatting food insecurity; planned Westside Standup: A Mayoral Townhall Forum between Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms; continued the implementation of a campus convenience store; organized a neighborhood planning unit taskforce; pioneered a campus safety task force; facilitated a constitutional convention which improved the structure and efficiency of the organization; developed student satisfaction surveys for Board of Trustees to gauge student satisfaction in administrative offices; developed a longstanding relationship between SGA leadership in the Atlanta University Center and our District 4 City Councilwoman.