BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG – Cori Jai Daniels is a young woman of faith and strength. The 2017 graduate of Gibbs High School learned to challenge her mind in order to deal with daily trials.
When she was 13, her father died. That’s enough to make anyone want to give up on themselves. She had never experienced such pain, anger and struggle. Since then, she has experienced life in both positive and negative ways. It has been difficult without her father being there for support.
“Most people don’t understand the aftermath of burying a loved one. Their absence is painful,” explained Cori. “Every time a life event occurs, they aren’t there to celebrate with you. It hurts.”
Cori explained that struggling financially was also a reality she experienced during her high school career. She was often met with “I can’t afford it,” or “I ain’t got no money for that.”
“Those statements were discouraging, but instead of quitting, I prayed. And God came through for my family every time.”
For Cori, grades have always been a priority in her life. Most often she received excellent grades until she entered her 11th grade year. She was so excited to be enrolled in AP classes, but they proved to be a huge challenge for her. Instead of speaking up, she failed silently.
Her mother, Yolanda Daniels, encouraged her to seek the Lord, and by drawing on strength from her faith, Cori learned from her mistakes and turned it around.
She made the honor roll, received the Dr. Mac J. Williams Award and became one of the few female drum majors in the band. She ministered in dance with “For God’s Glory Community Dance Ministry” and was a part of Mt. Zion Community Marching Band. Cori is also involved with the Life Empowerment Worship Center along with her siblings.
Graduating with honors, Cori plans are to attend Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach on a band scholarship where she will study music recording and technology.
As a woman of faith who has seen life challenges, her ultimate goal in life is to make an impact all over the world. Cori wants to bring peace and joy to the world through music. She believes that she can make the world a better place while becoming a better person. Faith says that she will do it!
Cori’s words of motivation:
Never let anybody tell you that you can’t do what you have set out to do.
Figure out what you want to do in life, create a plan and then execute it.
Times will get hard. Instead of quitting, think about what your future will be like if you don’t keep moving forward.
Never let anybody devalue you. Never allow them to make you think anything other than highly about yourself.
You are worth something! You are valuable! Someone does love you! It is worth it! It will get better!
Always tell yourself you can, even when you feel like you can’t.
Keep God first!!!