18-year-old Messiah Williams is one of the youngest Black men to ever graduate from NC State

Michael Perchick Image
Friday, June 14, 2024
18-year-old graduates from NC State
"Keep pursuing whatever you're trying to do. Keep on believing in yourself that you can do it," Messiah Williams advised.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- At 18 years old, Messiah Williams has become one of the youngest Black men to graduate from NC State.

"It's been one heck of a journey," Williams said.

He moved from traditional public school to virtual school, before he started at Johnston Community College at 12 years old. While there, he studied computer science and engineering.

After graduating at 14 with associates degrees in Arts, Science, Education, and Engineering, Williams opted to attend NC State to further his education.

"NC State, it made you feel like you were family. You had people that you could trust, like you could call on someone if you ever felt like you were down and maybe you were unsure about something," Williams said.

Messiah Williams
Messiah Williams

While Williams said he was largely reserved and quiet in community college, he matured socially at NC State.

"I'll try and be more assertive, try to speak more to others, and befriend some people. I'll (participate in) some clubs, try to experience college for what it truly is: a fun experience," Williams said.

As part of his major in agricultural business management and participation in extracurriculars, Williams was able to travel and learn off-campus. It included his work volunteering with Helping Education, which is focused on promoting reading literacy.

"He would go work with a student and kind of build rapport, develop that relationship," said Anam Lodhi, the Deputy Director of K-12 Programs at the non-profit.

Lodhi shared the impact of Williams' efforts.

"He was always just ready to be present. He always was asking, 'Hey, like, how else can I help?' I think when students see someone like that show up consistently for them, he's just not only serving to be a great role model, but (he's able to) make what he's doing achievable for them as well," Lodhi explained.

Williams credited his mom for helping him along the way, notably with driving him to and from class.

"She has personally been my coach, therapist, financial advisor, really just everything to kind of help me get through those years of college," Williams said.

He plans to attend UNC Pembroke for his Master's Degree, with hopes of ultimately serving in the US Space Force.

"Don't let your age or your shyness, quietness, don't let that prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Keep going, keep pursuing whatever you're trying to do. Keep on believing in yourself that you can do it," Williams said.