'I want to do everything it takes to be successful'
Get to know Teris Consonery, a student-athlete and Legacy Scholar.
This interview is part of the Building a Legacy series by Alysha Carlisle and Mackenzie Rutherford, highlighting Rochester’s youth of color.
Who is Teris?
My name is Teris Consonery. I’m currently enrolled at RCTC, I play football here. I first enrolled in Ely at Vermillion Community College. I transferred because my coach, Coach Isaac, got the head coaching job here at RCTC. I’m studying liberal arts. I’m not sure what I want to do in life but I’ve learned I can do anything I put my mind to. I like to play football and all other sports. I like to explore. I like to travel and fly. It’s peaceful. I have nine brothers and two sisters. I’m close to my mom’s side.
My goals are to graduate, get my associate’s degree, and then get my bachelor’s. Half the people who have walked in my shoes can’t do that. Lots of people don’t take advantage of their opportunities, but I want to. I want to own businesses and real estate. I want to own my own clothing brand. I also want to motivate people to work hard.
You said you’ve learned you can do anything. What made you realize your power?
Going from school in Vermillion to here at RCTC gave me confidence. I had a learning disability that nobody knew about. I used to not have the confidence that I have now because of that. So now that people know, I can get all of the resources I need. When something needs to be done, I know that I can get it done. I’ve learned I can learn quickly. When I used to do small groups I didn’t like that; when I had to go to the front of the class and people thought I was different, I didn’t like that. But now I have the confidence and resources to know I can do anything. Each year I can see myself progressing.
How did your upbringing influence who you are today?
I was raised to be a man at an early age. I had to take on a lot of responsibilities and make my own money. I had no dad, so I felt I had to be. I had to look out for myself and my siblings. We protected one another.
I cut grass, strapped iron, washed dishes — anything I could to make money. I also learned how to save money. When I first got money, I spent it on careless stuff, but now I know how to save it.
What will a headline in five years say about you?
“Teris Consonery made it off Violet Street.” Violet Street is a street in Thibodeaux, Louisiana. It’s known for its violence. Some people don’t make it off that street. Some people don’t survive that street. Seeing everybody around me struggling made me want to get out of it. I want better for myself and my community. I don’t want my kids, or my kids’ kids to struggle. I want generational wealth. I want to do everything it takes to be successful.
You’ve already made it off Violet Street, Teris. You have such a bright future ahead of you. How do you want to influence others from a similar background?
I want to be a role model to all the people back in the 'hood. I have to be a role model. People see that I’m doing it, so they see that they can do it. Going to school and taking care of myself.
I want to be known as a loving and caring person who looked out for everyone before himself. I’d give people the things off my back if they need something. I always want to put a smile on someone’s face.
What is one thing about you that nobody knows about you?
I do yoga. It helps me with my body for football. My coaches introduced me to yoga because I lift weights a lot and I need something to relax my body and my mind. It helps loosen up my muscles.
What gets you excited about life?
I’m excited to achieve my goals. And I’m excited that I’m almost there. I’m proud of my grades. I’m going to transfer to my next college in the summer. I’m going to graduate college in the summer. I’m excited to go back home and to go out into the world.
Mackenzie Rutherford is a native of Rochester and a graduate of John Marshall High School. She spent her recent years attaining her B.A. at Scripps College in Claremont, California, and her M.S. at SOAS University of London. She is a staff member at Project Legacy and a freelance social media strategist.
Alysha Carlisle is originally from Oakland, California. She graduated with her BSW in 2021 and now serves as a social worker at Project Legacy and a research coordinator at Mayo Clinic.