BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Hardwork and countless hours of studying are paying off big time for Woodlawn’s High School valedictorian Benjamin Holmes.
He has been accepted into 31 universities.
"My first offer letter was Montevallo. At first, I thought it was a rejection letter because it came in a small envelope. So, I’m like ‘Oh my God, rejection,’ but it was an acceptance,” Holmes said.
The acceptance letters continued. He’s been accepted into colleges on every coast.
Holmes started prepping early, specifically during the summer leading into his senior year.
"I contacted college admission counselors over the summertime and spoke with them. When August came around, I got to moving, got to applying. It was stressful, very stressful, but I made it,” he said.
With those acceptance letters also came big bank.
“I thought maybe $200,000, $ 300,000, or just stay to full-ride or a couple full-rides from my top choice, but I didn’t know it was going to be a total of a little bit over $1 million,” Holmes said.
At last check ‚Holmes has been awarded more than $1.1 million in scholarships. He said his story isn’t unique and there are other students in the Birmingham City School System also making major moves for their future.
He shared his advice to others coming behind him.
“Be passionate, be persistent, and be resilient," he said.
Holmes has his colleges choices narrowed down to his top five, with Howard University and Fisk topping the list. He has plans to become a teacher in the Birmingham City School System.
“It’s important for me because I want to help my community where I came from, I don’t want to forget it and I think that’s one of the things in today’s society, people go but they don’t come back to the community that raised them. I know that Woodlawn, East Lake and the surrounding areas need help and support, and I know they need mentors, tutors, and I’m going to try and be the best that I can and all of that as a teacher,” Holmes said.
Holmes will start college as a sophomore with 42 credit hours.