This morning St. Johns was proud to announce that Junior Sheila Hodges was named one of four winners in the 2019 Youth Tour to Washington Contest. Sheila was selected for participation based on her outstanding character, leadership, academics, school involvement, and verbal expression skills.
Sheila spent two and a half days in Tallahassee this week, where she toured, saw the state government in action, took a written quiz and delivered speech on the topic of "What moment in history would you like to go back to and why?"
Sheila's choice? Ruby Bridges' first day of school. In New Orleans in 1960, when she was six years old, Ruby Bridges became the first African American student to integrate a white school in the South when she began attending the until-then all white William Frantz Elementary School, a few blocks from her home.
"What people don't know about Ruby Bridges," said Sheila, "is that for the remainder of the school year, she was in a class of one and was the only African American child on campus." In her speech, Sheila said she would like to go back in time to that moment on the steps of William Frantz Elementary School. "I would walk her up the school steps and give her a big hug," said Sheila. "I would tell her to stay strong, remember her dreams, and that she is making a difference for generations to come."
A panel of judges determined the four winners based on the combined scores of both the quiz and the speech, and Sheila returned home victorious. She will be one of four winners to attend an all-expenses paid week in Washington, DC this summer, where she will meet some of the Congressional delegation, visit museums, experience national landmarks, watch the Marine Sunset Parade, and much more.