Black History Month celebrated

Black Students Association holds first-ever dinner


Photo courtesy of Bryce Stallworth

The Black Students Association (BSA) at Michigan Tech held its inaugural Black History Month Dinner at the Magnuson Hotel in Houghton on Saturday, Feb. 29. Approximately 60 students, faculty and staff members attended. BSA President Jimmie Cannon, a ’19 graduate, four-year football player and current student in the Masters of Science in Accounting (MSA) program was emcee for the dinner.
Cannon opened the evening by presenting the Black Students Association Excellence Award. The award was presented to two students, Dominique Collvard and LaMarea Moore. “This is our highest award,” Cannon told the crowd. “And it couldn’t go to two more deserving people. They are dedicated, are always there when you need them and are constantly helping to push BSA forward. They give 110 percent effort and they always have your back.”
Following the dinner, Cannon introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Jaylyn Williams-Boone. A Michigan Tech alumnus, Jaylyn Boone was a teammate of Cannon’s on the Tech football team, named the 2017 Man of Business by the School of Business and Economics (now the College of Business), and served on the Undergraduate Student Government. Boone was chosen to deliver the student address at MTU’s Spring 2018 Commencement ceremonies.
In addition to his position as an associate account manager with Inteva Products, headquartered in Troy, Michigan, Jaylyn Boone has his own motivational speaking business, Building with Boone.
Jaylyn Boone told the group he struggled with coming up with what to say to a group in which he was once a member.
“I thought, ‘this wasn’t just another speaking engagement. These are my brothers and sisters.’” He said the key to delivering the keynote was to be true to himself. “You don’t need something from my head, but something from my heart.”
Jaylyn Boone was raised in Flint, Michigan and said the environment forced him to mature quickly. “Very early my perspective shifted from a place of fear to a place of focus.”
He said that “place of focus” instilled in him a sense of obligation to take advantage of the opportunities presented to him for the benefits of those who followed. “I wanted to make sure those who came after me had more opportunities than I had.”
He encouraged students to make the most of their opportunities. “Every single thing you do matters. You’re familiar with compound interest, where you continue to compile interest on an initial investment. Well, life has compound interest.”
Jaylyn Boone specifically addressed first-generation college students. “No matter how hard it gets, you cannot leave here. You cannot leave because of those coming after you.”
Following his speech, Jaylyn Boone told the Lode, he was humbled and honored to speak at the first Black History Month Dinner. “This was my first time back to Michigan Tech since I spoke at my commencement. It’s an honor to be part of history.”