The American Jewish Committee Cincinnati (AJC) recently announced that Celie Hudson ‘21 is one of five senior finalists for this year’s Simon Lazarus, Jr., Human Relations Award for her commitment to performing acts of kindness through community service.
According to the AJC’s website, “for 56 years…AJC has recognized with pride those outstanding high school students whose daily lives, activities, and behavior exemplify a concern for others and a desire to bring about betterment in their schools, in their communities, or in their personal lives.”
At school, Hudson holds many leadership positions as vice president of the student council, editor in chief of the literary magazine, and peer mentor to freshmen students.
“She has improved children's lives in our community and human relations in our school with her own hard work and empathy and her skills as a leader,” said Sarah Beyreis, director of college counseling and external opportunities.
In the community, she has been a volunteer at Saturday Hoops, a basketball and academic enrichment program in downtown Cincinnati, for eight years, devoting most Saturday mornings to the program since she began volunteering in middle school. She has also recruited other students to volunteer with her.
Last spring, when Covid-19 temporarily shut down the program, Hudson worked with an adult organizer to create a seven-week summer camp in North Avondale. She worked at the camp all day, five days a week, for seven weeks, and said she relished the deeper relationships she formed with some of the kids from the Saturday program.
Hudson also solicited businesses for donations for the camp. On the last day of the camp, she gave a backpack to each camper, filled not only with supplies, but also with a personalized item (which each camper had wished for) and a hand-written note.
Additionally, she collected over 400 backpacks and filled them with toys and supplies she had collected. She then distributed the backpacks to people in need throughout parks and other spots around the city.
“I cannot think of any other student who responded so directly to the unusual needs that opened in the city this past year,” continued Beyreis. “Celie did so out of love, and she still keeps up with her campers.”
There is not one area of Hudson’s life that is not dedicated to serving others.
“The fact that Celie manages to be extremely engaged with people who live in very different circumstances than her own, and widely accepted and effective among the entire student body is remarkable,” remarked Beyreis. “I think she is one of the most deserving nominees for this award that our school has produced.”
At the virtual Simon Lazarus, Jr., Human Relations Awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 27, one junior winner and four junior finalists and one senior winner and four senior finalists are recognized for their exemplary volunteer accomplishments and rewarded with a cash prize. All student nominees receive a book and certificate in recognition of their achievement. Each school affiliated with each nomination also receives the same book for its library inscribed with the name of its nominee.