Graduating senior is driven to succeed
It was 11 p.m. and Benjamin K. was nearly asleep after a baseball game, resting for the next day’s match-up, when his dad called with some news: “You just got an email about a full-ride scholarship,” he said. The Kimball senior had been accepted into Texas Christian University’s STEM program, where he would be studying mechanical engineering on a scholarship valued at nearly $300,000.
“I couldn’t believe it!” Benjamin said. “I had to read the email about 20 times before I could even grasp it. I’ve always dreamed of going to college for free because I’m very appreciative of the things my parents have done for me. To be able to take a huge burden off them was great news, something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The news was especially welcomed because it confirmed that Benjamin had overcome the challenge of attending four schools in four years of high school – Cedar Hill, South Oak Cliff, DeSoto High, and, finally, Kimball – to compete in sports, he said. “Switching schools means adapting to a new commute, new classmates, new teachers, and you have to leave friends behind. But the biggest struggle was switching in the midst of COVID and struggling to get caught up over a computer.” Despite the challenges, he was able to maintain top-tier grades and test scores.
A formula for success
In the process, he’d learned that the best way to succeed was to “keep your head down and work hard. Do all the things you’re supposed to do because that will put you on the right path. Getting your work done, being on time for class, doing what your parents want you to do, and being respectful to everybody – all those things will put you on a great path for college and even life after that. To me, it’s about nailing those good habits.”
A student in Kimball’s E-TECH program, Benjamin says his teachers in Dallas ISD have always been preparing him to succeed in life. “It was never just about getting good grades and passing exams. It was always about preparing me for college and the next level.”
It was his seventh-grade science teacher at Harry Stone Montessori who first made him realize that he had the potential to succeed. “Ms. Sherman always knew I had something in me. I remember once she said, referring to me, ‘There’s a student in here who can be great if he starts doing his work and everything he needs to do.’ It was at that point that I really learned to go after my education and apply myself. She really helped pave the road for me to prepare myself mentally and set aspirations for myself.”
Lessons learned from sports
Participation in sports has also had a positive impact. “I’ve enjoyed football, baseball, track, and field,” Benjamin said. “After a long day of school, a hard day of calculus, or whatever, it’s great to go out and run around and have fun and compete. But sports is more than that – it has taught me a lot. The main thing is that you will fail in life. There will be failures, but if you look at your failures as ‘This is what I did wrong and this is what I need to do the next time,’ you’ll be good. It’s not about failing; it’s about how you bounce back from that failure.”
Early on, he developed an interest in STEM, which eventually led to his goal of majoring in mechanical engineering with a specific dream in mind. “All my life I’ve been interested in cars – how fast they can go, what makes them go so fast, and the noises they make – all pertaining to the engine. Then, not long ago as I started to do research on cars, I discovered that mechanical engineering is the college major that would allow me to study about combustion engines. I figured it was the perfect thing for me.
“I hope to one day be able to work on supercars and hypercars like Bugattis, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Koenigseggs. I would really love to be able to work on those types of cars and maybe even design better and more powerful engines for them. If I take off in the profession and end up working on jet engines or things of that sort, I wouldn’t mind that either.”