Hudgens is one of six heroes chosen by the recipients of the Medal of Honor from a field of 20 finalists in the nationwide program.
Hudgens was selected for her courageous act on Sept. 28, 2016, when she persuaded a 14-year-old student to give up a loaded gun at the school. She spoke with the student for 45 minutes until he agreed to surrender.
She will be recognized at a ceremony on Saturday, March 25 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on National Medal of Honor Day.
“To say that I am honored to receive this award is an understatement. There are no words to express how humbled I am at the thought of visiting Arlington National Cemetery and receiving this award from the men and women of the United States military who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. They represent the bravest of the American people, and I will be forever grateful to have the opportunity to meet them and hear their stories,” Hudgens said.
Hudgens said she continues to appreciate the love and support of the people of Cheatham County not only for herself, but also for SMS.
“It is my hope that this story will inspire others who are struggling to seek help when they are in need. True bravery is best displayed not only when you stand in the gap for others but when you are willing to stand in the gap for yourself,” she said.
Each year, a nationwide search is organized by The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, which selects U.S. citizens to receive the Citizen Honors Award.
Since 2008, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has selected U.S. citizens for their acts of courage and selfless service which epitomize the American spirit.
The honorees receive this award from a group of Americans whose actions have defined the words courage and selfless service — the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. These brave Americans have received the Medal of Honor for their acts of valor performed during wartime.
Those selected to receive the Citizen Honors Award demonstrate a willingness to place his or her own life at risk for others or has dedicated themselves to the service of others.
In all cases, the actions being honored must epitomize the concept of “service above self” and must be performed “above and beyond” one’s professional or vocational area of responsibility or conduct.
Hudgens has been with the Cheatham County School District for 18 years – all at SMS. She taught for 11 years before becoming a counselor nine years ago.
She regularly conducts school violence workshops, and she has served as a trainer for the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office and Juvenile Court for her “Recognizing Red Flags: Understanding Your Role in Preventing Teen Violence” program.
In January, Hudgens was named the district’s Middle School Teacher of the Year – her second time to receive that honor.