17-Year-Old Makes History
High school seniors are making their annual trek down the graduation aisles around north central Florida. One senior graduating Tuesday night is blazing a new path.
"They say I sound like Nicki Minaj, which I don't understand," said Erica Mason, 17, of Williston.
She's not your average "triple threat."
Mason raps about the father, son and holy spirit.
"It's basically a key to get the youth's attention; whoever heard of a rapping doctor?" she said.
Mason's eyes are fixed beyond the stage- even though her brains are putting her in the limelight.
Mason is Williston High School's first black Valedictorian, and she's made history not only in her small town community, but in her family.
At the heart of the great depression, Mason's grandfather Evins Taylor was turned away from Williston High because of his skin color.
"There was segregated schooling during that time, and that time in Williston, there was no venue for him- he had to leave Williston to get an education," said Patricia Taylor Braxton, Mason's Aunt.
Though he didn't live to see her accomplishment, Mason says the dream her grandfather shared with so many is slowly coming full circle.
"In my community as a black kid... I'm the only one. I'm the only one in the top ten, I'm the only black kid in my class," she said.
Last year, Mason's school district had a 5.5 percent high school drop out rate the state average-- was two percent.
"It doesn't matter where you come from, if you're rich or you're poor, if you're smart or not, if you're willing to work for it then you can get what you work for," she said.
Her words are more than lyrics to a rap song....
"Sometimes you have to have a small start to make an immense or huge end--you have to have that little seed, to get a great harvest," she said.
A harvest that prospers with patience.
Mason has received a full scholarship to the University of Florida where she will study applied physiology and kinesiology starting this fall.
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