Tykerius “TK” Monford was born and raised in Athens, GA. He attended Barnett Shoals Elementary, Hilsman Middle and will soon graduate from Cedar Shoals High School. He is the Varsity Cheer Captain, Vice President of his National Honor Society Chapter, Public Relations Officer for the Cedar Shoals Marching Band, Captain of the Peer Leadership Program, Editor of WJAG-TV Cedar Shoals’ broadcast journalism program, and Chair of the Athens Mayor’s Youth Commission. TK volunteered at Bishop Park youth camps for a few summers and then started working there as a 9th grader and continued to work there every year of high school. He is currently a Gymnastics Instructor for Athens Clarke County Leisure Services at the Bishop Park Gymnastics Program. TK will attend Brown University in the Fall, where he will study Economics on a full-ride scholarship. He lives on the Eastside of Athens with his mom Katurah Patterson and brother Delkin Faust.
What has been your favorite part of your high school career?
For me personally, I would definitely say going to all of the sporting events. Being a cheerleader at Cedar and being cheer captain I have been to every single football game for the past six years, and I have so many great memories from football games and basketball games. When I think about high school, those are the times that really resonate with me.
Did you have a favorite class at Cedar Shoals?
I would say that I have two super impactful classes. One was my freshman year AP Government with Shameda Jones. She is a really awesome teacher who just taught me so much about life, so much about government and so many life skills like standing up for ourselves, advocating for ourselves, speaking out on injustices. The second class that was impactful was the Peer Leadership Program with Katie Johnson. In that class, I got a chance to mentor a freshman. We had a lot of discussions with community leaders who would come in and talk to us. I feel like in that program it was very much whatever you made it so I was able to use so much from that class. I learned so much new information, and how to talk about hard subjects.
What is the best advice that someone has given you that you might pass along to someone else?
This is kind of the motto of my family: Education is the one thing that no one can take from you. My parents worked really hard. My mom was first in her family to go to college, and the first person in her family to get a graduate degree. That is coming back to the theme in our family, we push really heavy on education.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
Actually, my favorite thing to do is just go out and eat. My favorite thing to do is pick a new restaurant and go out and try it. I have some friends who are always down to just trying different restaurants around town.
If you could see any band or show anywhere, what would it be and where?
Obviously, I would have liked to have gone to see Coachella last year . It was iconic. Of course, Beyonce. Who wouldn’t want to see that?!
Do you have a favorite book that you find yourself rereading, regifting or referencing most often?
This has obviously changed as I have gotten older, but there is one book that really stands out in my memory and the book is called Please, Baby, Please [by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee]. It is actually the first book that I learned how to read. I read and wore that book out so much that it was literally falling apart. Every year in elementary school, I dressed up for the storybook parade as a baby. It was most definitely a favorite.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I really, really want to travel to Spain. That is my dream destination. I have always wanted to go to Spain and try Paella, and go to the beach and I really just want to experience Spanish culture in person. I studied Spanish in middle school, but I most definitely want to pick it back up in college.
What is something interesting about you that maybe most people don’t know?
I secretly love to cook. I actually used to do live cooking videos. I really enjoy cooking and it is something I am really excited about for college, that I will be forced to cook more often.
If you could put any message on a billboard, what would you put?
Advocate For Yourself. It is one of the biggest lessons, most definitely. People can’t read your mind, can’t tell how you are feeling, if you don’t say anything. Being a strong self advocate can help make sure that you get the things you need in life. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and where?
If I could have lunch with anyone, it would most definitely be President Obama, and it would definitely happen in the White House, because it is the White House! How often do you get to go sit and have lunch with a president in the White House?
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home?”
Always there for each other.