#MCCGrads2019: Student commencement speaker started at MCC at 15

MCC-Business & Technology student Isaac Clay will be this year’s student speaker at commencement.

Metropolitan Community College Class of 2019, meet fellow grad Isaac Clay, who will be speaking at your commencement ceremony May 16.

Isaac only recently turned 18, but he will soon have two MCC certificates and an associate degree. He was home-schooled, so as he finished up his high school curriculum he also took general education courses at MCC-Maple Woods — starting at age 15.

At the MCC-Business & Technology campus, Isaac is completing a certificate in welding construction this spring. He had already earned a certificate in welding TIG/MIG. (Those are different processes: TIG stands for tungsten inert gas; MIG is metal inert gas.) He is also close to finishing his associate in applied science degree in welding technology and management.

Not surprisingly, he plans to become a welder.

Back story: The 4.0 student took his first welding class just last fall. “I had only a little idea what was going on,” he says, “but I picked it up really quickly and I guess I had a knack for it.” He also has worked as a technician in the Business & Technology welding lab, helping other students and assisting with lab maintenance.

Metropolitan Community College began holding one unified commencement ceremony for all campuses in 2012. A student speaker was added to the program last year. The speaker is selected from one campus on a rotating schedule; the 2020 speaker will come from MCC-Blue River.

Warning: more welding terms ahead.

Favorite MCC moment: “My first time welding, I guess.” Isaac is partial to GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) because “it’s the cleanest and most precise type, (using) thin material like stainless steel and aluminum. You can control all aspects of the weld.”

Isaac was a recipient this year of the Chancellor’s MLK Scholarship.

At MCC, Isaac was also one of five winners of the Chancellor’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship this year, and this spring he was honored with a student leadership award from the Missouri Community College Association.

What others say: “Isaac is a student who takes every task to the absolute best that he can do, whether that is building a can-crusher in Layout and Fab class or producing a GTAW fillet weld in the overhead position,” says MCC welding program coordinator Aaron Gibbs.

Best thing about attending MCC: Isaac says it’s “the opportunity to explore new interests and validate things.” So if something sounds interesting, just take a class and check it out.

Advice for other students: We don’t want to give too much away here, because his commencement speech will include advice. But in general, “believe in yourself and work hard and make the most out of the hand you’ve been dealt.”

Most people don’t know that: “I thoroughly enjoy making music via FruityLoops Studio,” music production software. He makes all kinds of music, from ambient/relaxing to electronic to remixes of anime songs. “There is a certain zen that comes along with it.” (Isaac is also active in Native Youth Kansas City, a church ministry group for which he’s the drummer and bandleader.)

Have gown, will graduate: His cheering section at commencement will include parents Raymond and Kristina Clay of Kansas City North, sister Veronica (also an MCC grad, now at Rockhurst University), grandparents and his closest friend. Will the fam be throwing him a graduation party? He hopes not: “I like to keep it pretty low key.”

Special thanks to: His parents and sister. “They raised me, loved me and encouraged me when I didn’t believe in myself,” he says. “They supported me and allowed me to choose my own path.”

Last fall Isaac took part in “speed interviews” at MCC-Business & Technology during National Apprenticeship Week.