Clinton’s RayShaun Williams selected for National Youth Leadership Academy

By: By Chase Jordan -

RayShaun Williams is looking forward joining an elite group of young leaders from across the nation as they explore careers in engineering, medicine and forensic science.

The Sunset Avenue School student was selected to join elementary pupils in the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Pathways to STEM on the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem from July 18 through July 22. Its purpose is to inspire third through fifth graders to explore careers associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM for short.

“My career aspirations are to be a video game designer, artist, and play basketball in the NBA or play football in the NFL,” RayShaun said. “The conference will have a positive impact on my future by providing me with knowledge about engineering, problem solving and presentation skills to be successful in the real world.”

The upcoming journey began with a nomination from Robin Matthis, a math teacher who teaches academically and intellectually gifted students. In 2015, RayShaun was honored as a Student of the Month.

Outside of school, RayShaun enjoys playing basketball and football. In 2013, he participated with a championship team, the Cardinals, while playing ball through the Clinton Recreation Department. He attended the Roy Williams Basketball Camp at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for several days in June.

The young artist’s work was displayed at the All County Art Exhibit and Sampson Arts Council Annual Student Art Show at the Victor R. Small House.

RayShaun has accomplished a lot and credits many individuals in his life for helping him along the way.

“I want to thank my parents Reginald Williams, Teena Williams and grandparents Ransom Newkirk Jr., Alice Newkirk, Petrillo Brunson for all the love, support and encouragement they have given me throughout all my years in school,” he said.

His parents are proud about the recognition from his teachers for his academics, leaderships and maturity to represent Sunset Avenue.

“We encourage him to always do his best and never give up at anything he does,” Teena said. “We let him know that great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.”

In a news release, Andrew Potter, Chief Academic Officer for NYLF Pathways to STEM, stated that it’s a great opportunity for high-achieving scholars to get outside the classroom and see how to innovate and be creative through hands-on activities.

“These students, who have already proven themselves academically, are challenged to work on real-world, student-created projects to bring their studies to life,” Potter stated.

Students who participate study engineering, medical and detective work, which also introduces them to possible college and career paths. Hands-on activities include simulation and role-playing exercising. Officials believe it will introduce them to team-building, problem-solving, presentation and goal-setting skills.

“They will scrub in as doctors, build robots and investigate classic ‘whodunit crimes,’” Potter said. “Each experience is designed to tap into a student’s natural curiosity. For many, this is the beginning of a lifelong passion for a special area of interest.”

NYLF Pathways to STEM is part of the Envision, which allows students of all ages to explore interest and experiences beyond the classroom. Envision has served more than 800,000 students since 1985 in more than 140 countries. Programs are designed to help students develop leadership, scholarship and career skills.

By Chase Jordan

RayShaun Williams was recently accepted into the 2016 National Youth Leadership Forum. Williams was recently accepted into the 2016 National Youth Leadership Forum.