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West Point Cadet Ben Young Returns to Dublin High School to Inspire Students

March 27, 2013

“Almost every profession has an outstanding training ground. The military has West Point, music has Julliard and the culinary arts has The Institute.” – Craig Claiborne, Food Critic, The New York Times

Dublin High School Class of 2011 Graduate and West Point Cadet Ben YoungIn February, profiled Marcos Castro, the recently accepted Dublin High School senior to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. We recently had the additional honor of sitting down with current West Point Cadet, and Dublin High School Class of 2011 alumnus, Ben Young. We caught up with Ben as he was enjoying a portion of his spring break at Dublin High School. Mr. Young had previously contributed a story in our Life in College Series during his freshman year. Ben donated a portion of visit home to share his experiences in his second year. Ben followed in the footsteps of siblings and Dublin High alumni Chris (’02), Katie (’04) and Joe (’05). As a student, Ben also excelled in basketball, swimming and participated in band for three years. During his two week spring break, Ben elected to spend some of his time speaking to current Dublin students about his experiences and aspirations. He is no longer a “Plebe” (freshman). He is well into his sophomore year (“yearlings”) and will advance to junior (“cows”) and then to senior (“Firsties”). The following is a portion of our discussion. You mentioned the added freedoms with each succeeding year. Can you explain the difference in those freedoms in year two versus your first year?

Ben Young: “The second year at the academy is completely different environment. As a plebe, you are very restricted in terms of when you can leave campus and your relationship when talking to and interacting with upperclassmen is extremely professional. This year is way more relaxed. I can now hang out with other upperclassmen whenever I want.” In your classroom presentation, you stated that your day typically begins at 5:00 AM and ends at about midnight. Describe the adjustment that was needed to help your body acclimate to this schedule. 

Young: “The adjustment was very rough. My body took a while to get conditioned to this kind of schedule and to be honest, it never really has completely gotten used to being on the go so much. One thing that I never did in high school, but is a necessity now, is drinking coffee. Without my coffee in the morning, it is almost impossible for me to make it through the day! However, I am pretty strict with myself in getting to bed by midnight. Taking care of my health is important and getting at least 5-6 hours of sleep is a priority for me.” Your visits back home are fairly limited. Please explain why you chose to spend part of that precious time speaking to Dublin students.

Young: “Yes, my time at home is limited and therefore there is an added value for me to see the family. But it’s as important to give back and to continue to develop the system that developed me! Honestly, Dublin has always been the, can I say, ‘third wheel’ in regards to the surrounding schools in the Tri-Valley. But, attitudes are changing. They are changing given the physical improvements to these new, beautiful facilities. Most importantly, I wanted to show to them that their future opportunities are endless. Dream big and go get it!” Here’s an opportunity to say anything to your former teachers/staff at Dublin High. 

Young: “I never had any teacher that lowered the standard or didn’t expect great work out of each and every assignment that we turned in. They pushed us and challenged us and that is even more evident to me because of the success that I’ve had in the first few semesters at West Point. To all of my former teachers, I would just like to express my gratitude that they always squeezed the best out of me! I thank each and every one of my former teachers that have prepared me so well for what lies ahead in my future.”

In the course of assembling this profile, we had the privilege of meeting one of Ben’s former teachers, Ms. Anne Bowling. For the last 11 years, Anne has taught at Dublin High – in the subjects of Psychology and Economics. Additionally, she serves as the co-advisor for the Class of 2014. We visited with Ms. Bowling and she shared her experiences as Ben’s classroom teacher. In what classes was he enrolled in under your guidance?

Dublin High School Teacher Anne Bowling

Anne Bowling: “I had Ben in his junior year for U.S. History and then again as a senior in for Economics. I have known him for longer than that, though, as our families have been friends for some years now.” What type of student was he in the classroom? Could you sense that he had the potential to do something very special? How?

Bowling: “Ben is one of the best students I have had over my 17 years of teaching high school. He expected more of himself than I did. Of course, he would do what I required, but then also what I recommended, and more. I knew that he would be great at whatever he chose to do after high school.” The West Point path is unlike any other collegiate experience, relative to both academic and physical rigor. Please explain how you felt that Mr. Young would successfully meet this challenge. 

Bowling: “In the spring of his junior year, he had the opportunity to attend a summer academy at West Point that could ultimately lead to his acceptance. He had to leave prior to the end of the school year, so I arranged for him to complete his obligations early. I never doubted that Ben could succeed – if he took on a challenge, he would meet it.” Did you provide him any additional support/guidance?

Bowling: “I told him that I thought that he would do great that summer and that he would be an asset to the school, and thus the country, if he attended there. Then I told him that while the school was sizing him up as a potential recruit and that he should also size up the school. Given that he would be cut off from much communication for several weeks, I remember what I wrote to him. I told him that I was very proud and that I hoped that my own son would grow up into a man like him – compassionate, hardworking and dedicated.”

It was indeed a pleasure and honor to share this update on Cadet Benjamin Young as he traverses his second year at West Point. We were inspired both by his story and his willingness to give back to his community. commends this brave and impressive Dublin High School graduate.

Dublin High School Class of 2011 Graduate and West Point Cadet Ben Young Present to Dublin High Students

Dublin High School Class of 2011 Graduate and West Point Cadet Ben Young Present to Dublin High Students

West Point Cadet Ben Young Presentation to Dublin High School Students

West Point Cadet Ben Young Presentation to Dublin High School Students

  1. Stacey Stein permalink
    March 27, 2013 6:22 pm

    I am so impressed with all of the Young siblings! A great testimony to their loving parents Ken & Cindy. Thank you Ben for sharing your journey with us.


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