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Positively Central Texas: Temple ISD 3rd grader gets chance of a lifetime thanks to support from community

Posted at 9:12 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 10:43:02-04

TEMPLE, Texas — There’s a lot to say about a kid who spends his summer vacation away from school continuing to grow his mind.

“You have greatness on the inside and we just can't wait to see the things in the future that your name is going to be attached to,” Jacqueline Anderson said to her 10-year-old son. “You’re great.”

Benjamin Hall's mother explained that her son staying at learning camps over the summer is no surprise because by the time he was able to pick up and use a pencil, she could tell he was a natural born leader that was eager to get involved.

“He kind of takes things and grasps them and runs with them,” Anderson said. “Gosh, he’s been interested in a lot of subjects.”

Excelling in the third grade at Western Hills Elementary school in Temple, he was noticed by much more than just his family.

His teachers and principals noticed his skills as well.

They nominated him for a selective conference, the National Youth Leadership Forum.

”People gravitate to him, he's confident, and you know, he's just, he's a positive leader,” said Dr. Bobby Ott, the district’s superintendent. “He's just a total package.”

Only one obstacle stood in the third grader's way.

The price tag to get there.

Needing more than $3,000 to get Dallas, where it’s taking place in mid-July, and to pay for the five day event itself.

So, the mother-son duo hit the ground running, created a GoFundMe, knocked on doors in the community and began raising funds for these expenses.

Once Dr. Ott and the district found out about his need for funds, they reached out to local community groups and leaders who all pitched in some cash.

In just no time, the family raised $3,000 for the trip.

“The sad thing is, due to circumstances, he may have never had that opportunity,” Dr. Ott said. “But he had the right to be there, he had the gifts to be there, and that's why community’s important”

Providing an opportunity for the young kid to further his education and get exposed to classes he hasn’t been too involved with yet - like science, math, engineering and technology.

“It's going to increase his knowledge,” Anderson said with a smile. “It's going to increase... his leadership potential. I just think the sky is the limit for Ben.”