HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech football player Jaylyn Williams-Boone was a student commencement speaker at the 2018 Spring Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday morning at the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
Williams-Boone, a finance major from Flint, Michigan, has excelled in the classroom and on the field for the Huskies. Williams-Boone has a career average of 3.1 tackles per game as a defensive back, forced a pair of fumbles, has one interception, and four pass break-ups. In 2017, Williams-Boone played in all 11 games where he collected 30 total tackles, including two for a loss. Williams has one more year of eligibility as a player and will return to help anchor the Huskies defense as a senior on the field in 2018.
We had a chance to talk with Jaylyn earlier in the week about the process of becoming a commencement speaker and his experience as a student athlete at Tech. Look for an in depth video interview with Jaylyn Monday on the athletics website as well. A quick Q and A is below:
1. What all was involved in the process to become a commencement speaker?
"The process began with an email sent to all graduating students whose cumulative GPA exceeded a specific mark, inviting them to submit a speech for the possibility of being the spring commencement student speaker. From there, the committee conducted a blind reading of the submissions, at which point they chose five finalists. Those selected were invited to deliver the speech before the committee as if it were commencement day. Finally, the committee assessed each candidate and selected a winner, which fortunately happened to be me this spring."
2. Tell us about wanting to make this a surprise for your Mom?
"So my mom has been my number one reason for pushing myself the way I do in the classroom, on the field, and in every aspect of my life. We're literally like best friends. I tell her everything. So naturally when I was named the student speaker, I wanted to tell her all about it; but then I thought about how impactful the moment would be when she saw her son in a cap & gown, not only graduating with honors, but standing before thousands of people sharing their story. It was at that moment that I decided I HAD to keep it a secret. Then it just grew and grew when Bonnie and everyone on the Commencement Team supported the idea and loved the concept. I really couldn't have done it without everyone, including you."
3. Tell us about your experience at Tech as a student and football player?
"Tech football undoubtedly shaped me into the young man I am today. Coach Kearly saw something in me as a 5'5 145lb. kid from Flint, Michigan and gave me a chance to live my dream. From there I promised him and the Tech Football Program to give them the best return on their investment I could. It has taught me how to work for what I want, grinding as a first year student to earn the opportunity to start as a red-shirt freshman. A torn labrum, subscapularis, and ACL taught me first-hand how to overcome adversity more times than I would have liked to. But of all the things I got from Tech, the biggest thing I'll take away is the brotherhood I've formed since being here. The people I've met along the way and the relationships I've formed will last a lifetime and I am truly blessed to have been a part of it."