Fifteen-year-old Ben Johnson has been dreaming big his whole life.
“When I was four years old I basically planned my entire life out,” he said. “Everyone is always really surprised to hear that — I have all my goals set, and now I’m actually completing them.”
Ben, who just completed his freshman year at Idaho Falls High School, soon is headed to western Germany where he’ll live and attend high school for almost an entire year.
He is one of 50 American high school students this year to receive the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship.
The scholarship allows students to live with a host family and attend high school in Germany for an academic year. This year, Idaho Falls High School student Kyle New also received the scholarship.
Another of Ben’s goals is to attend the United States Naval Academy and study mechanical or aeronautical engineering. Ultimately, he wants to become a Navy fighter pilot.
“Landing on an aircraft sounds like the most fun, hard and challenging thing you can possibly do,” he said. “That’s probably my biggest goal and this scholarship is a pretty big step on the way to getting there.”
His mother, Myken Johnson, doesn’t doubt he will.
“He’s going to be one of those people that we see in the news doing something wonderful,” she said. “And we’ll all say, ‘Oh my gosh, I knew him when he was young.’”
Ben’s advice to other students is to dream big — and not to let fear of failure or making mistakes hold them back.
“I’d tell kids to pursue your dream, because no one else is doing it and it’s free and wide open,” he said. “Everyone’s scared to fail and failing’s not fun; it hurts. But picking yourself up from the mistake, going back and working harder — that’s what sets people apart and that’s what I try to do.”
Other school news
Lynda M. Bradley, of Ammon, and Madison Bertoch, of Idaho Falls, made the spring 2014 honor roll at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. To qualify, students had to achieve a minimum 3.5 grade point average for at least 12 credit hours.
Allison Gartrell, of Idaho Falls, made the spring semester 2014 dean’s list in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. To qualify, students must earn, for at least 15 credit hours, a grade point average in the highest 20 percent of the college’s undergraduate students with no grades below a “B-” and no grades of incomplete.
Scott Hill, of Idaho Falls, was awarded a doctor of dental medicine degree last month from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in Lexington, Ky. Hill is the son of Randy and Sonia Hill, and the husband of Julia Hill.