Talented kids? You can find them at every school, students who excel in something, whether it be sports, arts, science, or whatever. Then there are the kids who seem to have the Midas touch, simply great at everything they do.
Ben Manley is one of those. He’s a virtuoso musician who has also earned straight “A’s” taking all AP and honors classes during his four years at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School.
“There’s many students, they’re either really talented musically or really talented academically, but Ben, he’s the total package,” said Bringle Cidel, the school’s band director.
“I don’t want to be a jack of all trades and a master of none,” Ben explained, worried that the label “well-rounded”, which everyone calls him, can be misconstrued.
No worries about that. Ben’s outstanding in every academic area. He’s a member of the math, science, music, and national honor societies, as he follows his passions in the arts, engineering, and computers.
“I just love different things, I can be very logical at times but at the same time, I love the emotions that can come out of playing music,” Ben said. “But at the same time, I’m planning on majoring in computer science and I’m very logical and i can work with computers and program things.”
Last year, Ben led a team from Krop that won a national prize in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. Their idea was an app that would translate all the varieties of sign language.
“And it would’ve just been a way to connect everybody,” Ben told us.
The trumpet player hits all the right notes in the music room and in the classroom, yet he still manages to do find time to help any of his peers who need help.
“No matter what he’s doing, he can be swamped with so much and he will still find time to help other people, to put others before himself, and that is just something I admire,” said Raheem Frederick, one of Ben’s bandmates.
Ben doesn’t like to toot his own horn. His friends, though, will do it for him.
“Whoever’s struggling, he’ll always be the first person to come up and help you with a problem you need help with, Ben’s a cool guy!” said Skyler Cartwright, who has been classmates with Ben since their days at Highland Oaks Middle School.
It’s not easy to juggle so many activities. Here’s the multi-tasker’s advice for kids with wide-ranging interests:
“There’s going to be times when you may have to drop certain things, but the thing is, if you keep doing what you love to do you’ll find the time to do it,” Ben said.
Ben’s going off to the University of Michigan in the fall, where he wants to study computer engineering. Of course, he’s bringing his trumpet with him.