Talented musician moves Mississippi educators to tears

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "Georgia. Georgia, the whole day through," Patrick Henry Hughes gave a rousing rendition of the famous Ray Charles song Friday.

Patrick is one talented musician. The 21-year old man sings, plays the piano and the trumpet. He has been able to accomplish so much, despite his physical challenges. Patrick was born without eyes.  He can't extend his arms and he can't walk.

"I had a dream before Patrick was born that one way he would be a star on a football field at a large university," said his dad, Patrick John Hughes.  "When Patrick was born and I learned all about the problems, the difficulties, the challenges that Patrick would face, I buried that dream."

But Patrick was blessed with an incredible gift.  He started playing the piano when he was only nine months old.  And he could play childhood tunes by the age of two.  He is now a senior with a 3.9 GPA at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Patrick and his father shared their personal struggles and triumphs with more than 630 people at the Mississippi Early Childhood Association Conference in Biloxi.

"I always say not disabilities at all, more abilities," said Patrick.  "As a matter of fact, I see blindness more as the ability and sight more as a disability, because there are some people with sight who tend to judge others by what they see on the outside.  I only see that which is within a person."

"It's been real inspiring to me all of Patrick's life, because he has never, ever had a moment of self pity," said his dad.

Today, Patrick's music moves people to tears and his story touches their hearts.

"I was in tears over it. It was wonderful.  It was absolutely more than I could have imagined," said Beverly Peden, a retired teacher from Brandon.

"It just uplifts me and makes me want to try harder and push more and get more awareness out there to help these children," said Melissa Cox, a Fulton teacher.

Patrick is from Louisville, Kentucky.  Believe it or not, he's not majoring in music.  He's actually a Spanish major and dreams of becoming an interpreter or ambassador for a Spanish-speaking country.  Patrick has also written a book titled "I Am Potential".

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