How many high school students do you know who have volunteered in South America? More than once? There's at least two dozen students at Weston High School who can claim that feat. One of them is Gracie Bensimon.
In February, Bensimon will fly to Ecuador to participate in the Builders Beyond Borders program. During her stay, the Weston senior will lead a team of high schoolers as they build relief housing for impoverished residents of El Cercado.
In addition to her philanthropy, Bensimon also excels in the classroom. This year, the College Board recognized her as a high school scholar, a rare feat that requires years of achievement. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA since freshman year, and her SAT scores were at the top of her class. On Tuesday, the school board honored Bensimon for her dedication to academics.
Her mom, Gail Whitman, couldn't be more proud. "The thing I'm proudest of is she's just really a good person," Whitman said of her daughter. "She doesn't care about getting recognition, she'd rather see her friends get [recognized]. She knows what's important in life."
Bensimon also volunteers at the Carver Center in Norwalk and works with autistic children. "She takes it to heart," her mom said. "She doesn't do it for college applications. She really wants to help people."
Students at Weston also benefit from Bensimon's writing. She's a regular contributor to The Journal, the student newspaper. Next fall, Bensimon will start at Bowdoin College as a sophomore. She has three advanced placement courses under her belt, and she's taking five this year.
"It's incredibly difficult to maintain that kind of standard," said Michael Marotto, assistant principal. "The comments [by her teachers] about her dedication, how wonderful she is in the classroom, her inquiring mind, all led them to think that this is somebody who completely deserves [recognition by the College Board]."
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