An exemplary student

Published 8:22 pm Thursday, October 10, 2013

With so much educational news focusing on the problems school systems face in helping students graduate on time, passing benchmark tests and dealing with the various troubles that are inherent in the simple fact of being a teenager in 21st-century America, stories about students who have been wildly successful often get overlooked.

One such story recently that was not overlooked here was about Benjamin Littlejohn, a senior at Nansemond River High School, who was recently named a semifinalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program, and it’s good to know that his story of hard work and ambition have received attention among his peers in Suffolk.

Littlejohn hopes to share in $2.5 million worth of scholarship money available to African-American high school students through the National Merit Scholarship Corp. to honor academically high-achieving black students and provide a financial boost to many of the most promising of them. He is one of only 1,600 students selected to compete for a chance at the scholarship money based on their scores on the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test.

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Littlejohn hopes to attend a liberal arts college and major in mechanical engineering, perhaps with a little help from an ROTC scholarship. His goal is to one day work as a research scientist. Along the way, he hopes to continue his musical career (he’s a drum major in the NRHS marching band) in college, and he expects to serve a stint in the military if he receives an ROTC scholarship.

Any one of those goals would be admirable for a high school senior. And any one of those achievements would be worthy of praise. Putting them all together, however, makes Littlejohn the kind of student that others would do well to emulate and that school systems should parade as exemplars of the success that can come from hard work and determination.

We wish him all the best.