As Alfred A. Dudley III, who recently graduated from Suitland High School, sat in the ballroom of the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas last weekend, he said he couldn’t help but be grateful to the African American heroes he depicted in his drawing and to his high school art teachers who helped him hone his craft.
“If it had not been for Suitland High School, I would not be here at all,” Dudley, 18, said.
Where is here?
“Here” is being named the gold winner of one of the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics awards given by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at its annual convention to highlight the work of youths across the country. Awards were handed out in categories including the sciences and the performing and visual arts. And “here” for Dudley, he said, is becoming an incoming freshman at Cooper Union School of Art.
Dudley submitted three pieces of art from his portfolio for the competition. He had to do a three-minute presentation for each submission.
He won for a self-portrait he painted, but it was another entry, a drawing called the “Black Rushmore” — with depictions of Stokely Carmichael, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama and Dudley — that he spoke of most.
“That is mostly about my dreams and my ambitions,” Dudley said. “It’s about how I wanted to respect those who came before me. I’m here because of them. Barack Obama is more or less a direct product of the other two’s actions.
“I grew up where as a black boy I was told I could be anything I want to be. I can be a doctor or a lawyer. Now, because of Barack Obama, I’m pretty confident that I can be the president. It’s really emotional when I think of it.”
Dudley was one of two students from Prince George’s who came home with an award. Ginikacki Ebro, a 2014 graduate of Charles Herbert Flowers High School, received a silver medal for architecture. Ebro will attend Morgan State University in the fall.