Why We Do What We Do: A Graduate Profile

Ben, a recent high school graduate from Brewster High School and 2013
SYF Community Scholarship winner from Jefferson Valley Mall, reminds us that the work we do really does
help dreams become reality. As he shared in a letter to us: “When I am writing
scores for films in Kyoto, Japan, 10 years from now, I will look back with
great appreciation to the Mall Management Team. You helped realize my dream and
the dreams of so many others.”
Growing up, Ben watched his parents change
career paths from artists to entrepreneurs. But their “non-tangential path” of
starting a small CPR education company led to financial troubles. Ben recalls a
time when their family bank account fell to $40. His aunt, Meg, described Ben’s
childhood as ‘growing up with a looming peril always over his head.’ Not to be
discouraged, the family overcame their trials and tribulations with hard work,
dedication and a commitment to succeed. Ben credits his own strong ethics to
those he learned from his parents.
In school, Ben flourished academically, artistically
and socially. In addition to focusing on his classwork, Ben focused on
performing arts extracurricular activities: chorus, theatre, marching band,
orchestra and National Honors Society. As the only male member and captain of
the Brewster High School marching band, Ben led the band through the streets of
Dublin, Ireland, in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. He also received a leadership
award from the Gay Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national organization,
for his work as president of the Gay Straight Alliance in his high school.
In his junior year, Ben discovered an
interest in music theory. Combining music theory with his love of Anime,
Japanese animation that often covers more serious topics than the typical
animation, Ben visualized his goal to compose music for Anime. For that past
year, he has worked on his portfolio and has created three original scores for
a variety of instruments. He has plans to master the Japanese language so he
can create musical scores in Japanese.
With the scholarship money he received from
Simon Youth Foundation, Ben will attend Bard College, a private liberal arts
college in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
“Without your generous scholarship, I would
not be able to attend Bard,” shared Ben. “It was you, those of the Simon Youth
Foundation Scholarship Board of Directors, who recognized and supported my
endeavors to create music and master the Japanese language.”
SYF’s message to Ben: 幸運 (kouun, pronounced “koh-oon”) = good luck!

Igniting hope for 15 years, Simon Youth Foundation has dispersed more
than $10 million in scholarships and graduated more than 10,000 at-risk
students in Simon Youth Academies. Ben is one of the many deserving youth
people who are able to pursue their dreams to attend college or another
post-secondary institution with the help of SYF.

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