Senior Kendarrius Mathews to teach youth in his future


Senior Kendarrius Mathews believes that the support of his professors provided substantial encouragement, motivation and mentorship that helped him to complete his studies. He said that they thoroughly invested in him, supporting him all the way through, inside and outside of the classroom. Mathews is an elementary education major who initially started his journey at the university in 2016.

Micah Sanders, Editor-in-Chief

May 6, 2022, for some, is just a regular day that comes and goes on a calendar, but for others, it will dramatically change their lives forever.
Stemming from 12th century Europe, university graduation ceremonies are part of an 800-year tradition that stretches back to the establishment of the first universities when Latin was the language of scholarship.
Today, graduation ceremonies truly allow people to recognize their accomplishments and professional abilities and advance them to the next chapter of their lives.
At Alabama State University, graduating is highly coveted and praised as in the Black community, obtaining a higher education was not an option decades prior.
So with the transition of the graduation tassel to the right and the black and gold diploma cover embedded in the students’ hands, graduation is an event that sparks an everlasting flame of excellence.
And one true ember that made a lasting impact at Alabama State University is Kendarrius J. Mathews.
Hailing from Montgomery, Alabama, Mathews is an elementary education major who initially started his journey at the university in 2016. From the start, he always knew that ASU was the perfect institution for his formal education and believed that majoring in education would supply him with the tools and knowledge needed to jump-start his career.
“I chose to attend ASU because it was home for me,” he said. “Growing up with the tradition of ASU, I knew that I had to become a part of that O’ Bama State Spirit. Attending Alabama State exceeded my expectations of what college would be like, as well as getting that HBCU experience.”
Through many adversities and obstacles, six years later, Mathews looks forward to the future and is appreciative of the growth the university provided him.
“Not unlike every freshman that embarks upon a new college career, there were many adjustments that I had to learn to make,” he said. “I had to change how I studied because I wanted to be the best in my craft. I have been exposed to many different people and been afforded many opportunities that have allowed me to become the well-rounded individual I am today. When I look back at where I was during my freshman year compared to where I am now on the eve of my graduation, I can see the growth and development within myself.”
Upon the completion of his freshman year, Mathews joined the United States Army Reserve, where he developed leadership skills and characteristics. Along the way, he has joined the National Society of Leadership and Success, Kappa Delta Pi, Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA), and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., expanding his outreach professionally and socially.
While some educational journeys are personal, Mathews was not alone. From Lameski Walker to Pearla Griffin to Larry F. Cobb, he is forever grateful for their guiding spirits, energetic personalities and influential teachings not only in the College of Education but in several departments at the university.
“These people have helped mold me into the person that I am today during my time at ASU,” he said. “When challenges are faced, they always encourage me to persevere and to never give up on the goals that I have set out to achieve.”
Not only did those professors provide substantial encouragement, motivation and mentorship, they thoroughly invested in Mathews, supporting him all the way through, inside and outside of the classroom, and when it comes to the most memorable moment at the university, he pinpointed his support system.
Recalling the first time he was recognized for his academic achievement at ASU, Mathews felt such a tremendous amount of love and accomplishment.
“Words cannot explain the sense of accomplishment I felt that day,” he said. “ It was great that our president and provost recognized that achievement. What really stood out to me was looking into the audience and seeing some of the faculty and staff there to celebrate my success. And it was not just seeing faculty and staff there. It was those faculty and staff that have helped me along the way … waving at me…still encouraging me on this day. That in itself made me want to achieve more and do greater things. There is no feeling greater than knowing people want to see you win.”
For Mathews, winning is just in his DNA. The two-time recipient of the Chasity D. Barnes Memorial Scholarship (2020 and 2021), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides aid to students through college scholarships in memory of Chasity D. Barnes, allowed him to cross the finish line. Just like Chasity, he realizes the importance of a quality education and believes she would want to help him achieve his goals.
Chasity’s Champions scholarships are given to students who exemplify high moral standards and values that ring true to what Chasity was all about.
“As a child, my teacher has always inspired me to become a better person,” he said. “It wasn’t until I got to middle school when I had my first male teacher that really sealed the deal with me choosing to become a teacher. This scholarship truly helped me further my education and I’m forever grateful.”
As part of their curriculum, the College of Education’s elementary education majors must complete an internship at a school to gain hands-on experience and skillsets before graduating. Mathews is currently interning at Flowers Elementary School, just a few miles from the university.
With a degree almost in hand and a vast array of knowledge, he plans to enroll in graduate school this upcoming fall to further pursue his career in education. Still awaiting acceptance letters, his top two choices are The University of West Alabama and his alma mater – Alabama State University. Once obtaining his master’s, he looks to become a teacher in Montgomery with the goals of becoming an assistant principal or principal and eventually opening up his own school to service the youth.
Believing that there is “always room for improvement,” Mathews encourages students to speak out if they encounter any issues or challenges at the university. During his tenure, he was always very vocal about getting the problem fixed and spoke directly to the people that could assist in resolving the issue.
To those considering Alabama State University as their undergraduate education, Mathews believes that the university is rich in history and provides a holistic HBCU experience that you will not get anywhere else.
“When you step on this campus, you will be fully engulfed in tradition, excellence and an ongoing drive to be the best,” he said. “ Get involved while you are here and learn about the university and the resources that are available to you. There are people on this campus that are truly concerned about seeing you be successful. If you need help, ask someone because when you succeed, the university succeeds, and there is no greater feeling than knowing that you will always be a part of that. There is no greater feeling than being a part of The Hornet Nation.”