Fifth-grade student Scaglione wins national award

(Left to right), Betty Conger, Hudson Scaglione and Kent Maslin at the ceremony where Hudson was given his award.
(Left to right), Betty Conger, Hudson Scaglione and Kent Maslin at the ceremony where Hudson was given his award.
Photo by Linda Competillo
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As early as 2016, when Hudson Scaglione was in the first grade, he garnered the first award that earned him public recognition – second place in the PBS Young Writers Competition for the Upstate/Southern Tier region for a book he wrote himself, “My Friend the Big Whale.”

Today, Scaglione is a fifth-grade student at Groton Elementary School, where its cafeteria was the site for his most recent and most prestigious award to date – the National American Legion Auxiliary Good Deed Award – for which he was nominated by longtime Groton resident, trustee for the village of Groton and member of the Groton American Legion Auxiliary, Betty Conger.

On Friday, Jan. 31, Scaglione was joined by his parents, Michael and Stephanie Scaglione, his younger sister, Caroline, the entire fifth-grade class, members of the GES faculty and staff, GES principal, Kent Maslin, district superintendent, Margo Martin, and a number of community members, as Conger presented him with his award.

Also present in the audience were unit members from the local American Legion Auxiliary, Groton Village Office representative Angela Conger and Tompkins County Legislator Glenn Morey.

In addition to Hudson’s first prize-winning book, Conger expounded on the many accomplishments Hudson has made since then, all of which were what motivated her to nominate him for the award.

In 2017, Hudson took first place for second grade in the PBS Young Writers Competition, after having spent three months researching, writing and illustrating his prize-winning book, “The Beautiful Great Barrier Reef,” which explains the plight of sea life in the Great Barrier Reef due to pollution and other factors that threaten its ability to thrive.

Another three months of hard work in 2018 produced Hudson’s third book, “The Mysterious Amazon River,” which garnered him an honorable mention for taking fourth place in that year’s PBS competition. This book addresses the problem of poaching and wild fish being caught and sold in pet stores.

Hudson encourages anyone to ask and make sure the tropical fish they are buying are not wild caught.

As it happens, Hudson’s talent is not limited to writing prize-winning books. He loves to cook and bake, and the resulting products from his time spent in the kitchen doing either or both are the heart of his own business, which he started up in 2019, “Hudson’s Sauces and Goodies,” which can be found on Facebook. He also grows many, if not most, of the fruits and vegetables he uses in his recipes himself, with some assistance from his mom and sometimes his sister, Caroline.

Hudson cooks dinner for his family at least once per week, in addition to just cooking, baking and creating things because he wants to. He even makes his own pasta from scratch.

He has also won baking contests for his recipes, such as his mint Oreo chocolate chip cookies, and created helpful videos, such as “How to Roast Garlic.”

If all of this was not impressive enough, the icing on the proverbial cake and what impressed Conger the most was Hudson’s personal donation of $25 to help fund the building of a trout tank at Groton Elementary School.

Maslin, knowing that Hudson is also an avid fisherman, had suggested his donation could help with the “Trout in the Classroom” initiative that kicked off this past November. The school has taken on a project through “Trout Unlimited” whereby students monitor and care for brook trout eggs in a school trout tank.

The students at Groton Elementary School have built and are maintaining the tank and the baby trout. The eggs have hatched, and in the spring, the students will release the fish into local streams.

Hudson has committed to 20% of his profits being donated to his school for various projects, and this year, it just happened to be for the Trout Tank.

“Is it weird that your own kid is your hero?” his mother, Stephanie, said. “We’re just backing him as best we can.”

Hudson said his goal for this year is to really focus on the products he is selling on his Facebook page because he has a personal goal to raise at least $100 to donate to the school in 2020.

“Imagine what $100 could do for a school,” Hudson said.

In giving his acceptance speech, Hudson set out to inspire those around him.

“If I had to say one thing to all the kids out there, I would say nothing is impossible,” he said. “If you work for it, you can do anything. You could be a millionaire, but it is only possible if you put lots of work into it. If something inspires you, learn more about it because when you grow up you could do what you love.”

Hudson said his dream is to make more people care about the earth.

“Earth won’t last forever if we keep living like this,” he said. “Oceans will die if we do not keep them safe, so try to use less plastic because plastics kill animals and we need biodiversity. That means lots of animals and plants.”

Hudson likes to grow food because he considers it “boring” to go shopping for all his food. He shared a story from when he was 6, when his mother let him have a farm stand so he could make some money for a GoPro.

“I worked hard on the farm stand, so every year, I expanded,” he said. “It got harder but also more fun because I was never bored. I always had something to do.”

Hudson gave one last bit of advice to those in attendance like him.

“Look, if you are a young kid, pick something you like to do and do it,” he said. “You could change the world. I do because I am out here fulfilling my dreams one by one, and I will keep doing it. Thank you so much for this award.”

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, lmc10@cornell.edu or 607-227-4922.

In brief:

Awards for Groton Rotary

The Groton Rotary Club recently received recognition, along with a banner, from the trustees of The Rotary Foundation for its support of the foundation’s annual fund.

This prestigious award was given for Groton’s club having been distinguished from more than 35,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide as having attained one or more of the following:

One of only 1,550 clubs to achieve top three highest in per capita annual giving dollars in its district; one of only 3,400 clubs worldwide to attain status as an “Every Rotarian, Every Year Club” (these clubs must have achieved a minimum annual fund contribution of $100 per capita with every dues-paying member contributing $25 or more to the annual fund during the Rotary year); or one of only 4,000 clubs worldwide to become a 100% “Foundation Giving Club” (clubs must have achieved an average of $100 in per capita giving and 100 percent participation, with every dues-paying member contributing at least $25 to any or all of the following during the Rotary year: annual fund, PolioPlus Fund, approved global grants or endowment fund).

Calling all Groton alumni

The Groton Alumni Association will be meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11 in the Village of Groton office, 143 Cortland St. All graduates of Groton Central School are encouraged to attend and help plan the Aug. 1, 2020 annual Groton Alumni Reunion. Please save the date for this popular reunion. The GAA members look forward to seeing you there, whether you can assist with the planning phase or not.

Library renovation bids

The monthly meeting of the Groton Public Library Board of Trustees will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11.

On Thursday, Jan. 30, The GPL Board opened sealed bids for the library renovation and plans to award contracts to the low bidders for general construction, electric, plumbing and HVAC, pending final review of the bids and references by the architect at this February board meeting. All meetings are open to the public.

McLean Community Council meeting

McLean Community Council will be meeting Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the McLean fire hall. There will be an election of officers and discussion about the outlook for 2020. Everyone is welcome to participate. Information: 607-838-3333

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