Stories of Excellence - LaFonda Cornelius

LaFonda Cornelius has passion. You can hear it when she talks about her school. You can hear it when this student talks about her daughters, and you can especially hear it when she sings.


Cornelius began her current journey at Mitchell in August 2016 after local industry personnel cutbacks. Cornelius enrolled in Mitchell’s Early Childhood Education program where she had previous credit. Cornelius was getting back into the routine of balancing college courses and family responsibilities when she was given an unexpected opportunity. 


During a cultural studies class discussion on African spirituals in fall 2016, Cornelius began singing. Her instructor, Annette Moore, immediately knew Cornelius’s voice needed to be shared. Moore, a member of the planning committee for the College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. ceremony, asked Cornelius to perform at the January event. “She stunned the audience from the first bars of ‘A Change is Gonna Come,’” Moore said. “I don’t think anyone expected such a powerful, soulful voice. Her performance was a wonderful accompaniment to the program and was the talk of the event.”


Music has always been Cornelius’s passion, and she hopes to combine her studies and her love of singing, engaging with more music coursework while at Mitchell. Even though she has only been back at Mitchell a short time, Cornelius’s connection to the College is evident. She speaks fondly of Mitchell employees, the assistance they provide to help students excel and especially their early morning greetings which help students start their day. “The faculty and staff are so supportive,” Cornelius said.  “It is such a warm space. Mitchell is a great, great school.”


Cornelius currently plans to graduate in May 2018 with a goal of working in a pre-K program. “Kindergarten lays the foundation,” she noted, “but pre-K is the modeling and nurturing. And they have so much music throughout the day!” Wherever her path may lead, LaFonda Cornelius is sure to impact lives with her passion.


Learn more about expanding your goals and achieving your dreams at Mitchell! Discover degrees and programs Mitchell offers then find out how to apply. For additional support, speak to a counselor at (704) 878-3242 or