Honouring a local star
Elementary students lobby Ontario town to recognize engineering alumnus Taly Williams
A class of elementary students in the Ontario town of Haliburton are getting behind a Waterloo Engineering alumnus who went on to play in the Canadian Football League.
The students want to see Taly Williams (BASc ’94, civil engineering) recognized on the wall of a local arena along with other hometown athletes who made good.
Williams grew up in Haliburton and played for the Waterloo Warriors before suiting up as a defensive back with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger Cats in the mid-1990s.
He is now a co-founder and managing partner at AQORA Capital, an investment firm in Los Angeles focused on water infrastructure, technology and services.
Students in a grades 7 and 8 French immersion class at J. Douglas Hodgson Elementary School in Haliburton recently wrote a letter to the mayor and council of Dysart et al Township after learning about the accomplishments of Williams and his sister, Lesley Tashlin, a sprinter who competed for Canada at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
They argued murals of Williams and Tashlin, who are Black, belong on a wall of fame at the A.J. LaRue Arena along with other local sports stars.
“We are very proud of them and we would like the town to celebrate and recognize their athletic achievements,” the students wrote.
Williams told a local newspaper that his academic success set him apart as a pro athlete and that he was “touched” by the effort by students at his old school.
"I would love to be on a mural to be a symbol to my kids and others regarding what you can achieve and who can achieve it," he wrote.