Teen Hall of Fame: Dave Bennett, Modesto High School graduate
Some teens get into college and change their majors two or three times, but David Bennett doesn't have such uncertainty. In fact, he's known since the sixth grade that he wants to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army. The story of this dreamer is on its way to a happy ending, as he has recently begun attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. Let there be no doubt, it's been quite a long road for him to get into the prestigious institution.
David joined the Boy Scouts as a Tiger Cub in the first grade. As with everything he does, this dedicated young man gave his all to the Scouts. He mentored other Scouts when he was senior patrol leader, "Which means I was the head boy in my troop," he said.
He participated in a number of community service projects with fellow Scouts. Impressively, Bennett became an Eagle Scout. His Eagle project was a two-day landscaping project at the Modesto City Airport fire station.
When it was time to enter high school, he chose to attend the Modesto High School International Baccalaureate Program. Since he had been playing water polo since he was 9, he promptly joined the water polo team. He also decided to join the swim team. Bennett was on both teams during his four years at Modesto High, making the varsity team for the last three. For his outstanding performance, he received MVP honors and the coach's award, and he became co-captain of the team his senior year.
Bennett attended the Rotary Leadership Awards and Boys State Leadership camps. His personality earned him Character Awards for Responsibility, Respect, Honesty, and Perseverance. David graduated this past spring with a 4.3 GPA.
Incredibly, Bennett still has time for fun. According to longtime family friend Dara de Jong, "His desire to learn, grow, and push himself are apparent in the activities in which he has chosen to participate." These activities include unicycling, wake boarding, and dirt bike riding. He was also passionate about supporting school sporting and spirit events.
Does he consider all of his hard work worth it?
"Getting the phone call from Congressman Dennis Cardoza saying I was admitted to West Point was definitely one of the happiest and best days of my life," he said.
Though both of his brothers attended West Point before him, there were no strings pulled to get him in. Bennett is looking toward a success in wherever his life leads him.
PARENTS: Mark and Corinne Bennett
SIBLINGS: Nathan, 23, and Austin, 21
HOBBIES: Unicycling, wake boarding, dirt biking, Scouting, shooting
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: I would definitely have to say my entire family. They told me to do what I want to do and motivated me. My entire family led by example. My brothers, when they were in the academy, would call me and say "Listen, keep up the hard work, do what's right, don't quit, and always have an upbeat attitude." My dad really taught me the qualities of being a man. My mom was always there for me and was always that shoulder of comfort when I needed her. She was just always, always there.
LAST BOOK READ FOR PLEASURE: "The Hunger Games" trilogy
FAVORITE TV SHOW: "Family Guy"
FAVORITE MOVIE: "The Boondock Saints"
FAVORITE KIND OF MUSIC: Country and classic rock
FAVORITE BANDS: AC/DC and Luke Bryan
BIGGEST FEAR: Letting down my friends and family. They've given me so much support.
WHAT I'D TELL THE PRESIDENT: Do what you think is right. Don't just focus on re-election. If it will change the country for what you think is the better, then just go for it.
ADVICE FOR KIDS: Set yourself a goal, and every day work toward that goal.
ADVICE FOR ADULTS: Support your kids, and guide them toward their goals and dreams. My parents definitely pushed me, and I needed that push.
WHERE I'LL BE IN 10 YEARS: I will still be in the military, deciding if I want to stay in or not. I see myself as, hopefully, an infantry officer with a platoon.