Why She’s Interesting: After 11 years of studying and six attempts, the Chicago native earned her GED at age 52. Hudson, who dropped out of school in ninth grade, has since become a champion for adult learning. In 2016, she was awarded the Governor’s Courage Award by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and named the Adult Learner of the Year by the Commission on Adult Basic Education. Last summer, she led the Pledge of Allegiance on the third night of the Republican National Convention.
Nice Surprise: Seeds of Literacy, where Hudson received tutoring, nominated her for Adult Learner of the Year in 2016 without her knowledge. She didn’t find out about the nomination until receiving the congratulatory call. “It was wonderful — something I couldn’t imagine. I just tried to keep my composure.”
Make A Wish: Leading the Pledge of Allegiance onstage at the RNC was a little extra special for Hudson. “It was my birthday. I was just honored they asked me to do it. I wouldn’t have thought four years ago — even after I got my GED — that I would be a part of the RNC.”
Try Again: Hudson studied relentlessly to pass the GED. And even with failures, quitting wasn’t an option. “Some people can pass the test on the first time, and some people cannot. That doesn’t make you less of a person.”
Lifelong Student: After earning her GED, Hudson was inspired to try other things she’d wanted to do: make candy, knit scarves, play keyboard. “I was always amazed by the organist at church. I’m taking keyboard lessons now.”
Jet Set: Hudson didn’t leave the U.S. for the first time until she was in her 30s, visiting the Dominican Republic with her grandmother. She’s enjoyed traveling — especially in the Caribbean — ever since. “I’m a beach person. I like the swim-up bars. I’m not a drinker, but it’s nice to be at the bar and your feet can be in the water.”
Power Of Literacy: “I just thought I would get my GED and be proud of that. I didn’t know it would lead to this. I want to share my story and spread the power of literacy — how literacy can literally change your life. It happened to me, it can happen to someone else.”