Stepfather and Stepson Graduate Together
Posted on May 10, 2019
You can finish what you started."
- Lawrence Walthour
Most graduates will tell you that one of their best memories of FVSU was its family feel. But for Lawrence Walthour and Ka'Jeem Grant–Logan, there is more to it. They are a step-father and step-son pair, and they will graduate together tomorrow.
Grant-Logan began his collegiate career playing football at Benedict College, but financial issues and academic challenges caused him to return home and start working multiple jobs. He was discouraged and had no intention of returning to college anywhere. That's when his step-father stepped in.
"One day my step-father sat me down and told me about FVSU and that it would be a good fit for me," Grant-Logan said. "It was an HBCU just like Benedict and it was closer to home."
As if to make the destiny call even clearer, Grant-Logan soon heard from one of his from former coaches at Benedict, who told him he had accepted a job at FVSU and wanted Grant-Logan to continue his dreams of pursuing an education and getting back on the football field by playing for the Wildcats. After visiting FVSU, he was sold.
"I came to FVSU with one thing on my mind and that was to be successful at all I did," said Grant-Logan. "I earned a starting position on the football team while maintaining a 3.5 GPA."
Even a football career-ending injury in the fall of 2018 couldn't stop his determination. He will graduate as a member of the National Honor Society.
"I didn't let it stop me from being studious," he said. "I finished out the semester recovering while at home. I came back this semester, my last, and excelled in everything pertaining to college."
Saturday is special for step-father Lawrence Walthour as well, and not just because he gets to see his step-son graduate from the stands. He'll watch it from the floor with the rest of the graduates as he receives his own degree in organizational leadership.
Walthour decided to finish his undergraduate degree after a 17- year hiatus. He was just six credits short of receiving his degree at Clark Atlanta University but didn't finish. He said he always planned to return, but needed to start working and it occupied all of his time. He served a five-year stint in federal prison as well, but before being released, he decided he had to come up with a plan to complete his education and to get a fulfilling job.
"FVSU offered me the chance to complete my degree online and used my work experience and previous credits to help me reach my goal," he said.
Grant-Logan values both his father, Malcolm Logan, with whom he maintains a healthy relationship, and his step-father. "I have a strong bond and relationship with my biological father and my step-father who has always treated me like I was his own," he said.
Walthour agrees, saying he appreciates their relationship and has always treated KJ as his own.
"It's a good feeling for him to reach out for advice, and with all my life experience, it was easy to educate him," Walthour said. "I'm blessed to have had so many experiences. I can tell him about HBCU's, working with teachers, and classes to take. I told him to just go to Fort Valley and try it. He came, he loved it, and he thrived."
Walthour recently celebrated his fifth wedding anniversary to Grant–Logan's mother Chaka, and said that out of everyone, she's the most excited about the joint graduation of her two favorite guys on Saturday. Grant-Logan said he's sure his mother will be utilizing all 20 tickets provided to the both of them.
Walthour said he's proud of his step-son's accomplishments, especially the way he came to FVSU and turned his grades around. Most important, Wathour is proud of the way his step-son has learned to take the advice given him over the years and use it to make him a better person. It's advice that Walthour gives based on his first-hand experience.
"I'm excited we can share this experience together," Walthour said. "Saturday is all about KJ. I'm happy, but I've been through this before. I'm glad he listens and he sees that I'm not making things up. I encouraged him to talk to his professors, talk to his classmates"¦the bonds made here are forever. HBCU professors will help you if you show effort."
HBCU professors will help you if you show effort."
"I did it for me," he continued. "I did it for my mom. I did it for my wife, my family, and our kids and to show everyone, you can finish what you started."
Walthour currently has a landscaping business and works at D.S. Smith Paper Mill. His future plans are to use the knowledge gained as he earned his organizational leadership degree and begin a non-profit organization to work with ex-offenders who want to further their education. He plans to pour knowledge into them just as he has done for his step-son.
Grant-Logan, a media studies major, plans to continue his education at FVSU as a graduate student. Both credit FVSU professor Juone Brown as their biggest supporter, while Grant-Logan's advisor Dr. Andrew Lee and Walthour's advisor Kareem Kenny have become large parts of their support systems.
- Class of 2019
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