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Harper transforms from quiet kid to outgoing leader

Junior forensic accounting major Anthony Harper II wasn’t sure he wanted to be a Boy Scout after an overcrowded, pointless camping trip. If it wasn’t for his mother, Diana Harper, pushing him to stay in by switching his troop, he would have been content staying home playing with Lego bricks.

While Harper still jokes about picking back up his Lego collection one day, he wouldn’t have gotten to this point, of being an important role model and leader at Wesleyan, without God, his family, the Boy Scouts and other organizations.

“I’m glad she made me (stay in Scouts),” Harper said. “I went on to become an Eagle Scout and everything. I enjoyed my experiences especially after joining the troop in Fort Worth. It’s how I got involved (with people).”

Harper, who was homeschooled until college, said he spent his first year at Wesleyan as the quiet kid something completely different from the guy that smiles and waves at everyone from graduating seniors to incoming freshmen.

“I would talk to people if they talked to me, but I was never really the one that engaged in the conversation,” Harper said. “I feel like the want to make that change early that year is what encouraged me to be like hey how are you doing and smile at people to where it just kind of became a habit.”

Though the element that Harper said first made him come out of his shell was his Boy Scout troop in Fort Worth.

“I moved to the troop in Fort Worth at the age of 14 and that’s where I stayed,” Harper said. “Honestly, that’s where I got my first experience knowing my personality in a way. The one in Fort Worth was a smaller troop. I got to know people and I got to learn more personally. I grew up and I enjoyed it.”

Thinking back to his experience with Scouts, Harper said he was crazy for wanting to initially go to a larger school than Wesleyan, even after he already had a scholarship for here from the Ben Hogan Foundation.

“I was a student thinking nothing happens, it’s boring, and didn’t even want to come here even after I got my scholarship,” Harper said. “It was crazy, but, when I went to Go Wesleyan Day and Orientation, I stated to meet them (Alex Lopez, Darrian Smothers, Jeremy Hunt, Ricky Hull, Tre Adams, and Lyndsey Bessinger) and see how they made their lives here at Wesleyan. It was really cool and the key to that was all of them being super involved on campus. I was like wow; I want to be like that.”

Harper took a page from their book and is now involved on campus as an RA, orientation leader, Ram Camp leader, Ram Squad member, President of the Accounting Society, Black Student Association member, football player, and a member of the Golden Sheers.

“I applied to be an RA and orientation leader, because I looked up to individuals that were in that positions already and I thought I could do it as well. Then (I applied to) Ram Camp, because I enjoyed being in Ram Camp so I just wanted to give back that experience to (incoming) students.”

Harper said it’s his goal to give back to all those who have helped him along his journey when he graduates from Wesleyan and moves into his career in finance.

“In five years, I’ll try to be an alumni, have a family, and just be giving back,” Harper said. I hope and plan to be in a really good financial standpoint, so I can give back to organizations (and places) that got me where I am: my Boy Scout troop, the First Tee of Fort Worth, Wesleyan, and the Ben Hogan Foundation. I have places where I feel like I don’t really owe them but I’d like to honor what they gave to me by giving back.”

Senior English major Kime Sims, who watched Harper grow to be even more outgoing than her when being fellow orientation leaders, said he is already giving back now.

“I feel like Anthony pays back to the school with everything that he does whether that’s getting involved in organizations, Ram Camp, or orientations,” Sims said. “I think he’s doing a great job at it and letting people know that he’s there like the people that gave him that.”

For senior criminal justice major Katie Matthews, who said Harper was like a little brother to her, he’s one of the first people she goes to if she has a problem.

“He can be a little turd, but he really does have a good heart,” Matthews said. “For instance, there was one time I was just really upset and crying. I went down to his room and he actually talked with me and prayed with me that God would help me through it. There’s been several times where I thought the whole entire world was going down around me and he’s usually the first one I go to. I don’t know why, but usually he is whenever I have a problem. He’ll calm me down.”

Junior music education major Tyler Simpson, who considers the Harpers an extension of his family and was Harper’s first roommate, said that he agrees that Anthony helps to support people. He also experienced it himself after a bad break up at the end of a semester.

“I remember just days after he left, he called to check up on me,” Simpson said in an email. “After hearing that I was not doing well at all, he told me that he would call me later. An hour later, he called back instructing me to open the door; I did, and there stood Anthony with a fully packed bag, a Wii-U for brawl, and the willingness to ride out the next week with me in our room.”

When it comes to this caring behavior Matthews said she tries to follow in Harper’s footsteps.

“He can be compassionate and very nice,” Matthews said. “Whenever he sees somebody he’s like hey so and so what’s up. He’s very outgoing and I kind of follow his lead on that whenever I see somebody. I just try to be outgoing like he is.”

Harper has also set the bar for Simpson, when it comes to being an RA, lifeguard, and student in general at Wesleyan. Simpson said he even credits Harper for getting him to apply to those positions.

“I actually base the kind of RA that I want to be as well as my moral goals on Anthony Harper,” Simpson said. “He is beyond close with his residents, taking time to talk to anyone and everyone. He is a part of the Ram Squad, always showing support for his peers at various sporting events. He can often be seen offering academic assistance to his peers that he shares classes with. Lastly, he has high self-standards morally and academically.”

Another element Simpson said Anthony brings, which makes him a good leader, is excitement.

“Anthony brings the hype,” Simpson said. “No matter what the subject is, Anthony can motivate anyone, from succeeding academically to showing up and participating in an event on campus.”

Sims also said one of the reasons Harper is a good leader is because of his humbleness and the teamwork he works to promote when leading.

“I think Anthony is a good leader because he’s a team player,” said Sims. “He doesn’t want to move on until everyone is at that level. He wouldn’t want (people) to just win, he’d want (people) to win together. I think that’s one of the best qualities about him as a leader, because he cares, but also wants it to be a group effort. He wants it to be the experience, not the end result.”

Harper said he credits all his choices his made to get him on his current path to God.

“I was confused with what I’d do and where I’d go,” Harper said. “I put it in God’s hands. He’s lead me down these different paths and shown me where to go. I’ve kind of just been chilling and going with the flow. It’s really been working out.”

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