Ben Brooks (7th Grade, Omaha, NE)
Ben was nominated for this award by Kris Severe, who captured his outstanding qualities and competitive spirit:
Ben Brooks was born with moderate-to-severe hearing loss and wore BTE hearing aids since three months of age. In 2018, when the hearing in his left ear progressed to profound hearing loss, he chose a cochlear implant for his left side. His love of reading and books has been a constant for this bright seventh grader, and now it’s taking him places.
Gallaudet University Youth Programs has been hosting the Battle of the Books competition for students in 5th – 8th grade since 2012, and the Nebraska Regional Programs has had a team participating since 2014 . There are three stages of competition in the Battle of the Books: Preliminary, Playoff, and Nationals. The top eight schools in the Buff and Blue divisions and the first place winner of the Green division from the Playoff stage advance to the Nationals competition held at Gallaudet University in Washington, D. C. in the spring.
Ben and his teammates, Evelyn (a fifth grader from Papillion-LaVista) and Jasmine (an eighth grader from Omaha Public Schools), as well as Mike Brummer, their chaperone from Metro Regional Program, traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Nationals, representing Nebraska Regional Programs as Nebraska North from March 29 – April 1, 2019.
Congratulations, Ben! Thank you for being such an amazing example for others.