Student:

Benjamin Brockman.

School:

William Tennent High School, Warminster.

Achievement:

Brockman, 18, of Warminster has won this year's principal's award at William Tennent along with scholarships from organizations including the Greater Warminster Chamber of Commerce, the Warminster Rotary Club and the state House of Representatives. Brockman also won scholarships to the University of Pennsylvania where he will study engineering in the fall.

Brockman is class treasurer, a member of student government, president of the Mock Trial Club, and he became an Eagle Scout this year. For his Scout project, he renovated Noogieland, the children's room at Gilda's Club, a cancer support organization in Warminster. Brockman has traveled to Europe, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and Japan as part of his involvement with People to People International, an organization that seeks to foster understanding and friendship between people of different countries. As part of his second trip with the organization, he organized an effort to send over two tons of educational supplies to a school in Fiji.

The scholarship scramble:

"I'm still waiting to hear from a few. I've probably written about 10,000 essays and applied for between 20 and 30. I'd rather spend a couple hours on essays and get a couple grand out of it than have to work 200 hours over the summer to make that much."

A winning formula:

"I've had a lot of positive experiences to draw on and extracurricular involvement. I just try to be as authentic as possible. I don't want to b.s. the people reading the essays because they read so many. I talk about my experiences and how to plan to use them in the future."

Choosing Penn:

"It came down to Penn and GW [George Washington University]. I chose Penn because of the location. I like being in the city and [the school's] academic reputation. If I don't like engineering, they've got a world class business school."

A Boy Scout in Noogieland:

"I just went in there and organized a bunch of people to do things. We painted the walls, organized toys. I brought in friends to help me with a mural on the entrance way and installed three chalkboards. We put a sign out front that says Noogieland. It came out cool."

The elephant:

"I went to the National Jamboree for Boy Scouts in 2005. I got selected by my patrol leader to sit behind George Bush for his address. I was sitting eight feet behind him. If you Google "George Bush," "2005" and "jamboree," you can see my ear in the picture."

The horse:

"I also volunteered with the Barack Obama presidential campaign. I knocked on doors and helped get out the vote and helped with his Truman High School appearance. I got to meet him, briefly. I got a handshake before I got shoved away by the crowd."

People to People:

"The summer after the ninth grade I went to Spain, France and Italy for three weeks, and I had the time of my life. I absolutely loved it - the people, the sites. I stayed with a family in France for 3 days. I got home and I wanted to go on another trip, and I got the letter for Fiji, New Zealand and Australia."

Student to student:

"I was looking on the People to People Web site and saw a link to Project Bua, a group of students in Chicago who had gone to Fiji. They saw the poverty, and how the schools were run down and there was no clean water source. They sent over a water pump and started sending over schools supplies."

Entering the fray:

"I wondered what people would think about taking some stuff for the kids in our suitcases. I e-mailed them and pretty soon people started to bring things in boxes and boxes. I got a lot of old math textbooks from the district, paper, pencils, some old computers. Before I knew it, we had two tons of school supplies."

People lessons:

"It taught me a lot about responsibility and humility, just seeing things from the perspective of a lot of different people is always helpful and it taught me a lot about working with others. It taught me a lot about community service and leadership."

Onward:

"I'm interested in business and international relations, which ties into People to People. If I go the business route, there are a lot technology management career opportunities. If I look at engineering and international relations, it's a nontypical combination. You could do national security work, or work in a government [position] related to engineering."

What his principal says:

"He's an outstanding young man," said Eileen Poroszok of William Tennent High School. "He's unassuming, the antithesis of the big man on campus, and you don't have to tell him to do this or that. He anticipates things and gets them done."

- Kristin E. Holmes