Whiz Kid: Owen Benben
Whiz Kid Age: 11
Whiz Kids School: Highcroft Ridge Elementary School
Whiz Kids Accomplishments: The Special School District (SSD) of St. Louis County, located in Town and Country, recently awarded fifth-grader Owen Benben a Special Ambassador Award. The Parkway Highcroft Ridge Elementary School student received the award because he goes "above and beyond" to help students with special needs, said SSD staff.
Owen's teacher Libby Bawden told Town and Country-Manchester Patch that Owen does well academically, is an athlete, is very well rounded and is a leader among his peers.
"Owen helps others because he believes that is the right thing to do and that every student deserves to be treated fairly and have a friend. This is truly profound for someone his age," Bawden said. "At school he has received letters from across the state from people and families praising his strong attitude and sense of morals."
Owen told Patch he's been volunteering to help students with special needs since he was in first grade and the people he helps are some of his "best friends."
"I help a lot of kids with disabilities, like sitting with them at lunch and including them on subjects," Owen said.
Owen said he got involved when he was younger because of square dancing the students were doing at school. He said that activity taught him that students with special needs can do "pretty much" anything he can do.
SSD school officials said that the Special Ambassador Award is the highest recognition given by SSD, and Owen is the youngest recipient of this year’s award.
Owen also plays sports in his free time, including hockey, baseball and lacrosse.
Whiz Kids' Key to Awesomeness: "I usually do my work quickly, then I can say 'Hi' to my friends. They're no different than any other friend," Owen explained. "It feels really nice to help them out. I know some people might not take the time to, but it feels really good inside."
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