Bennett Ross spent much of her time outside of class in high school on the basketball court, getting lost in the game and closer to teammates. After years of playing, however, Ross decided to help the school’s teams in a totally different way.
Beginning her senior year, the now Horizon Christian Academy graduate traded the court for the sidelines as she helped coach the middle school girls’ basketball team. Ross turned into a leader for some of the younger kids in her school, and she felt she was finally able to give her input and help out.
“And it was just a great way to connect with the younger students at my school,” Ross said.
Class of 2020
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Ross loved using her experience to help teach the girls, but most importantly, she said she loved simply being there for them. She already had plenty of experience mentoring middle school-aged children at Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta, and she said that is where her enthusiasm for leading and teaching kids started.
“I think middle schoolers are so overlooked as humans,” Ross said. “They’re just kind of in that really awkward phase where it’s like, ‘oh middle schoolers are so much trouble,’ but I don’t know. I just love how much energy they have and kind of how unique and different they all are in them going through all those stages. I just want to be there to help them.”
Ross also led students through the student council during her junior and senior years, eventually taking over as senior class president. The spot gave her the opportunity to share with administrators and teachers how students felt about certain projects, opportunities and events. An ambitious and determined student, Ross was also in the National Honors Society and played on the school’s volleyball team all while also working part-time at Publix to save up for college.
While she has always been an independent and driven student, Ross said that she hit a roadblock during her junior year when she was having a difficult time reading for her British Literature class. After a while, she ended up going to see her counselor to ask for help and later found out that she has dyslexia.
“I’m a very determined person; like I wouldn’t let myself fail,” Ross said. “I would read those things over and over and over and look them up online and try to understand them. Really just my brain kept mixing up the words, so figuring that out so late was like — oh, maybe I should try to listen to myself and not try to go against myself and be determined to try to do it myself and actually get some help from other people.”
During her junior year, Ross met with Pam Seaburg, a counselor who helped students with learning disabilities, two to three times a week. Now, she has a much easier time understanding and completing her classwork, and she is grateful that she learned early on that asking for help is not a weakness.
Going forward, Ross said that her love for coaching younger students along with her interest in her math and science classes are some of the best memories from Horizon that she plans to take with her when she leaves for Milledgeville to attend Georgia College and State University in the fall. She plans to study middle grades education with a focus in science — a decision she said was inspired by her AP Chemistry and Forensics teacher Sharon McGehee.
After she drives the more than two hours to Milledgeville, Ross said that she will definitely miss her parents and brothers, but she said her family is already starting to plan visits for the next semester. More than anything, Ross is excited to meet new people in college and for life to get back to normal.