Senior Rayshawn Williams, a star defensive back, received the Byron ‘Skip’ Willis Scholarship.
The family of the late Byron “Skip” Willis, a 1970 King alumnus, gives a scholarship annually to a King athlete who shows true leadership, academic success, and active community service.
The legacy of Willis continues through his family in honor of him by giving back to his community. Senior student counselor Denise Barnes who encouraged Williams to apply believes he has the necessary traits to be chosen for the scholarship.
“People didn’t recognize him for what he’s worth and I saw that potential in him and asked him to apply for the scholarship. He had the leadership qualities on and off the field. He’s like a quiet storm,” said Barnes.
Barnes noticed the qualities Williams has as a student-athlete and acknowledged the scholarship would benefit him as he prepares for college. Barnes saw that he was underestimated and knew that he was valuable to the community as well as his team.
“Candidates had to have a 3.0 or better and some community service,” said Barnes. “Ray did help out in his neighborhood where he started a little league baseball team, and he has better than a 3.0.”
His achievements on and off the field also led to an athletic scholarship to Howard University for football.
“I will be attending Howard University and majoring in supply chain management this upcoming fall,” said Williams. “I felt extremely excited when I was awarded with the scholarship.”
Williams has a motivation to make his family and coaches proud. Also, he wants to be a role model for his younger siblings and do better for them.
“My siblings and family motivate me on and off the field. Having this opportunity has motivated me even more to grind in and out of school,” said Williams.
Willis passed away April 7, 2016. The scholarship was initiated in June 2016 by his family to continue his belief in young people. He held steadfast to the idea that hard work pays off.
“This scholarship fund was established to honor him, to continue his legacy and to encourage and inspire others to contribute to this most worthy cause,” Willis’ sister Sylvia Walker added.