BROOKSVILLE — As a candidate and as president, Barack Obama has repeatedly called on all Americans to work together to make a great nation even better.
Terrance Hudson answered the challenge of how he would contribute to a brighter future for Florida in a recent essay marking Black History Month.
The Powell Middle School seventh-grader's inspirational words won Gov. Charlie Crist's essay contest, earning Hudson statewide honors as well as a full scholarship to any state college or university in Florida.
The 13-year-old's essay, called "Accessing the future through the hard work of the past,'' was chosen among 1,664 entries to the contest in the middle school category.
In his approximately 500-word essay, he explained how diversity can keep Americans united. "I really like the idea of expressing myself about black history and winning a scholarship, if I could," the straight-A student said Thursday at an school event honoring his accomplishment.
Hudson received a four-year full tuition scholarship from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, as well as travel and lodging expenses for a trip on Feb. 12 to Tallahassee for him and his parents to meet the governor at a reception.
He entered the contest at the urging of his parents, Ricardo and Althea Hudson, both of whom teach math at Powell Middle School.
"My wife and myself, we are ecstatic and we're very proud of him and we're so blessed to have this opportunity for him," Ricardo Hudson said. "We're proud of all our kids, but this is his hour."
Terrance has two older sisters, Jasmine Hudson, who is studying at the University of Florida, and Rica Hudson, who is in law school at the College of William and Mary.
Besides schoolwork, Terrance enjoys track and basketball. He is thinking about being a motivational speaker as a career, but said, "I'm only in seventh-grade, so that can change."
Change, of course, was the main buzzword in Obama's presidential campaign. What does Terrance think of the new administration?
"I think that it's good that he got elected," Terrance said, adding that President Obama gives people hope and encourages them to work for things they want badly enough.
Paulette Lash Ritchie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.