Local teen with dreams of being a surgeon needs help getting to by-invitation-only medical seminar

A student of Graceville High School who has given his time and energy to serve as the Tiger mascot at ball games, pep rallies, parades and other events needs his community’s help to take advantage of a rare opportunity.

Alexander Hunt, 15, has received a National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Award of Excellence and has a chance to receive a scholarship. He has been invited, as a delegate representing Jackson County, to attend a related seminar in a community near Boston, Massachusetts. The Congress of Future Medical Leaders will convene in June of next year. But to get there and pay for his related expenses, his mother, Teri Smith, needs to raise $1,800 before April of 2017.

A dispatcher for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Smith said her son has been talking seriously about becoming a doctor since he was about 12 years old. That dream was spurred on by the fact that his older brother, Allen E. Hunt Jr., also known as “A.J.,” joined the Army around that time. Alex, she said, had always shown interest in the medical field, but expressed a specific desire to become a military medic after his brother signed on to serve in the nation’s armed forces. His dad, Allen E. Hunt Sr., works at Fort Benning as a supervisor of mechanics for a private contractor who works on vehicle projects for the military.

Alex is in the Senior Beta Club at Graceville High, as well as the Key Club. He maintains a 3.5 Grade Point Average and at school he carries the nickname “Smiles” because of his friendly and positive manner, his mother says.

Students are nominated to become seminar delegates by their teachers, counselors and principals based on their dedication to entering the medical field as physicians or scientists, their leadership potential and evidence of their academic excellence. Qualified students may also be identified through other means, such as academic events, recommendations, youth organizations, honor societies, medical institutions, medical societies, program alumni, and in-classroom surveys such as the Talent Identification Program administered by MyCollegeOptions.

At the seminar, speakers will include Harvard grad and science prodigy Shree Bose, who is the grand prize winner of the 2011 Google Science Fair; Sir Richard Roberts, who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in the category of physiology or medicine; Dr. Thomas Mashburn, a NASA flight surgeon and astronaut; and Princeton student Janelle Tam, who won the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge in Canada.

The family’s mailing address is 4033 Galilee Rd, Graceville, FL.-32440. Contributions can be sent there made out to Alex Hunt with a note in the memo line indicating the purpose of the donation is for the seminar. For more information, Teri Smith can be contacted at teri.smith070216@yahoo.com . She is arranging for a special fund to be set up at her bank in the near future, likely titled the Alex Hunt Seminar Fund.

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