ST. PETERSBURG – Graduation time is exciting for everyone – parents, family, and of course, the graduate. It’s an amazing time for the counselor who mapped out a successful educational plan and for the mentor who encouraged the student to stick to the blueprint. The moment is special for the graduate who at times wasn’t sure that the day would ever come and for the parent who breathes a sigh of relief that it did.
Jada Hudson walked across the stage in her cap and gown with a glowing smile and a reassurance that she is both stubbornly independent and remarkably brilliant.
“I grew up in St. Louis, Mo. It was sort of rough. Being an only child, I often felt that I was by myself, but I got through it for 16 years of my life,” said Jada.
While in St. Louis, she did pretty well in school for a while. With there being such a cultural gap, she missed out on many experiences other students were exposed to.
Her grades began to slip, and she felt as if the teachers were giving up on her, so she started to speak her mind.
“They never had faith in me or thought I could do the work,” explained Jada. “It affected me a lot.”
After moving to St. Pete, the change was refreshing. She enrolled in Northeast High School as a junior. Her grades got better, and she began to make the honor roll again.
Her confidence came back. The excitement to achieve began to rise up in her. Jada thought a lot about the challenges that she faced in St. Louis and used it as motivation to fuel her fire.
“I came a long way from not doing well in school to getting good grades, honor roll and hearing from teachers and family members to keep up the good work,” stated Hudson. “It was a reminder that I can exceed in life and reach my goals.”
However, the change didn’t come without some challenges. During high school, Jada took hard classes and endured difficult tests. She studied every night and sought help from classmates and teachers. Whatever she needed to do to complete the work and understand the assignments, Jada was determined to do it. Her graduating is the proof that it worked.
“It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know Jada these past couple of years,” said Northeast High School mentor and counselor Anita Gerhart. “She has blossomed from a once shy young adult to an outstanding senior who has a clear plan for her future.”
Gerhart said Jada is motivated, displays a responsible and mature attitude and is always willing to help others. And with Jada’s drive and determination, her mentor is confident she will be successful in her future endeavors.
Jada plans to attend Pinellas Technical College and study early childhood education. She dreams of becoming an early childhood teacher and director and is already making plans to build her own daycare center.
Her parents, Nicole Milton and Jude Hudson, can let out a sigh knowing that through all of the challenges Jada experienced, the walk across the graduation stage is the proof that she can leap over any hurdle.