MACON, Ga. — Travion Solomon is a rather shy kid, but it's a different story when it comes to his dreams of playing basketball.

“I just want to play basketball after high school,” Solomon said.

Growing up and playing basketball in his neighborhood, his mother Ashley Wiggins said he became passionate about making his community better.

“Some of the challenges he was talking about were the drugs and violence in the community, the high crime rate, lack of education, lack of resources and funding,” Wiggins said.

He also knows from personal experience.

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“Family members have been affected by drugs, and he saw the affects it had on him, so he knew about the drug issue first hand,” Wiggins said.

Solomon wrote about those problems for the Griffith Family Foundation's Eastside Out Loud essay competition for Northeast High School's ninth graders and won first place.

“He received a $10,000 scholarship from the Griffith Foundation in addition to a $1,000 check that he's free to use right now,” Wiggins said.

Applicants had to write about the assets and challenges within their community and come up with ideas on how to make it a better place.

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“It is a blessing to watch him grow and develop, but he's always been caring,” Wiggins said.

It's the first year the Griffith Family Foundation held the essay contest.

Members from the school and the foundation surprised Solomon with the announcement during class. 

Superintendent Curtis Jones also stopped by to congratulate him.

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