Born in rural Marion County, Florida, known as the “Horse Capital of the World”, Maurice Gilbert holds the distinct honor of riding a horse two times in his life. Outside of Star Wars marathons and in between Netflix binging sessions, he works to inspire others in his community to invest in themselves. Maurice believes that everyone can be successful and attributes the lack of opportunity for many people as the main obstacle to achieving success.
Maurice recognizes the privileges of growing up with two parents, the support of an older brother, and the exposure to intellectually challenging courses taught by teachers who were openly inclusive. These resources allow him to use various platforms to expand opportunities available to other young people. In his Junior year, to implement a unified culture of excellence, Maurice became President of both the Key Club and the English National Honors Society. He was also the Executive Board Secretary of Student Council, and the Treasurer of the Science National Honors Society. Through these various outlets and with the help of other talented individuals, he promoted a culture which allowed people and clubs to grow and excel to fulfill their potential.
In the second half of his Junior year, Maurice, along with two other Key Club officers, ran for District and International positions in Key Club. Maurice finished 3rd in the race for Governor at the District Convention in April, which many would have considered a failure. The fact that the winner was one of the two people from his home club made the process of accepting the results even more trying. Unbeknownst to him, the following months of 2017 would prove transformative, starting with him being honored at Florida’s Boy’s State Conference in June as the Most Valuable Senator.
After reimagining his District Governor platform, Maurice transformed it into what became known as Black Xlence which has since been expanded and reimagined as Generation Xlence (pronounced excellence), an organization dedicated to promoting the voices of young people in their schools and communities. Maurice has also worked with several political campaigns and brought the views of young people to the forefront of his community through his role such as being the youth panelist in a monthly community discussion titled “The Friday Forum”.
Maurice is a firm believer in the ability to transform circumstances unfavorable to growth into oases primed for progress, which is why he describes life not as a series of ups and downs, but as a pathway of hills and valleys. The pitfalls of life are comparable to valleys ripe for development, symbolizing the ability to learn from failure and use that knowledge to expand the capabilities of yourself and others; and the hills represent the new heights reached when that knowledge is applied. Maurice is proud to further his educational career by double majoring in Political Science and Economics at a top HBCU such as Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and by continuing to change lives through the American legal and political systems.