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Waving her banner high

TJC Touch of Gold member demonstrates how to perservere in the face of adversity

Bright lights…screaming fans…a beat of a drum…flags up. This is how Tasiyah Cornelius’ game nights go before she takes her first step onto the football field. 

“These people don’t know you, they don’t know how to toss a flag. It’s OK if you mess up; just keep on going and keep smiling because they’ll never know,” said Cornelius, TJC Touch of Gold color guard member. 

Cornelius is from Forney, Texas, where she grew up and learned the craft of tossing a flag. 

“I was playing the trombone, and I was never really all that creative at the trombone. So I was presented an opportunity to work with the flag, and work more with being the show instead of the music,” Cornelius said. “I’m a very showy type of person. I love to dance. I love to just have fun and so color guard just fit right in that ballpark.” 

While Cornelius was in high school, Jeremy Stickland, director of bands at TJC, presented the highlights of being involved in Color Guard in college. 

“I wanted to follow out my dreams and my passion, which is Color Guard,” Cornelius said. 

Cornelius knew she wanted to audition but she had no transportation to make it to auditions. Coach Jenna Hauck allowed her to send her audition through email where she was told to showcase her talents through a video. 

May of 2021 Cornelius received a call from Hauck that she made it on the team. 

“I never thought that I would make a college Color Guard team because usually you have to have the skills and for somebody to just be like, ‘Oh, yeah, you made it.’ It was just very exciting and impactful,” Cornelius said. 

After finding out she made the team, Cornelius made arrangements to move to Tyler. 

“When I first met Tasiyah, she was so shy because she just moved here from a city that isn’t too close to Tyler. She didn’t know much and had to stay with a member of the team,” said Adrian French, teammate of Cornelius. “As time grew and she got comfortable on the team, she exposed us to this beautiful side of her heart and soul.” 

Cornelius is currently working two jobs outside of being a TJC Color Guard to support living on her own. 

“I came from a rough background so I moved out right when I was 18 and so in order to financially support everything in the house, I have to have two jobs,” Cornelius said. 

Cornelius works at CVS and Kidz R’ Life, a local day care in Tyler.
When she is not at practice, she is working at either job supporting her dreams. 

“How do I juggle it all? I don’t; I just kind of go with the flow. It’s because sometimes you can’t just juggle it all, you have to go with the flow, especially when you got a lot going on,” Cornelius said. “So, I just take it a day at a time, and I do what I can, and I try my best.” 

Cornelius is an early childhood and child development major at TJC. 

“My No.1 passion other than Color Guard is working with children. That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life is work with children,” Cornelius said. 

To focus on her passion, Cornelius reminds herself she is not perfect and leans on her supporters. She has learned from what she describes as a rough childhood that it is important to find out who she is and not who others want her to be. 

“Growing up in a household that’s narcissistic feeling like you’re not worth nothing, and that everything that you did was a problem. Not being showed love how you want to be shown love and not how other parents show love was hard,” Cornelius said. 

Cornelius said she still struggles to not feel stuck in her past, but she focuses on moving forward. 

“Younger me would be proud more than anything, because I never thought I would be in the situation that I am right now,” Cornelius said. “And with a lot of determination and a lot of passion and a lot of goals, I was able to accomplish a lot more than what I really thought.” 

Cornelius said pushing through is what makes her win the battle every day. 

“She picks me up at my worst and shakes it off of me. She always makes sure that everyone has what they need and all the support we could ever get,” French said. “Her huge warm loving heart and soul is definitely one of my favorite traits! Beautiful young woman inside and out. She’s going to get very very far!” 

Cornelius works on her goals every day by focusing on what matters. 

“I’m not perfect,” Cornelius said. “I make mistakes. I am strong, and I am beautiful. Tomorrow is a new day that you can always change, you can always change tomorrow.”

Tasiyah Cornelius wasn’t always in Color Guard, in fact she used to play trombone until she decided to follow her passions and join Color Guard. There, she felt she could be more creative and expressive than she was in band.

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