June 28, 2020
Senior Spotlight - Week of June 28 - July 4
This week we continue to honor our graduating seniors as we highlight Ben Meyers and John Godwin. They will be featured here in our weekly newsletter and they will be honored in their front yards with signs, chalk, and well wishes. If you know these seniors, please congratulate them or drive by their house and give them a honk to show how proud of them you are.
Below you can read about these two amazing Highlands’ seniors. Both have a bright future ahead of them and we couldn’t be more proud.
Senior Ben Meyers
A lifelong member of Highlands Swim & Tennis Club, Ben began his swimming days in the baby pool [that would be the old one where the snack bar seating area used to be!]. As soon as he was age eligible, 5-years-old, Ben became a Whomping Turtle and began his Highlands Swim Team adventure.
Over the past 13 years, Ben swam in both A and B meets and had the privilege of attending many Divisional Relay Carnivals. Of course, being on the swim team is not just about swimming but the wonderful social connections he made through the swim practices; pep rallies; pancake Fridays; after swim meet lunches and progressive dinners.
Ben completed his lifeguard training in the spring of 2018 and has been up on the Highlands’ Lifeguard stands every summer since. For the past three winter seasons, Ben swam for the McLean High School Swim Team. In addition, he participated in McLean Rec league basketball every winter since elementary school. During the fall and spring seasons [and the occasional winter indoor soccer season] Ben got his workouts with his McLean Rec soccer team, The Terminators. This past year, Ben also completed his years long journey to becoming an Eagle Scout.
Ben graduated with honors this past spring from Mclean High School and will be headed next to Tufts University in Boston, Ma. where he plans to pursue his studies in environmental science and economics.
Senior John Godwin
John was first in a big pool before he was 2 years old although it was some time before his head was immersed and even longer before he could hold his breath. John’s launch into swimming paralleled his twin sister’s allure to swimming. As a Whomping Turtle, John has thrived on the workouts through which he has improved and refined stroke and breathing techniques under the guidance of excellent coaching. His favorite stroke has been freestyle, and though he has tried breaststroke and backstroke, he has more recently embraced butterfly; if only he had more time. He will never forget the valued camaraderie, the meets, the water polo after practices, the progressive dinners, and, of course, the Friday chocolate chip pancakes. Unfortunately some summer weeks were conflicted with away camp (mountain streams, waterfalls and lakes) and once by a two-week stint at Harvard to study black holes (no water there), but he has always returned to swimming, even off-season at the local recreation center.
Highlands and NVSL has been a favorite way for John to jump start summers. Yet swimming has not been his only calling. For over 10 years John has been a member of Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do where he currently is one step from advancing to his second degree black belt. In addition to being a long-time TKD student emphasizing general life skills, John has competed locally, has been a part of the Demonstration team performing at various venues, has taught in the adaptive program (ATKD), has instructed in summer weapons camps, has helped with and led TKD birthday parties, and is on the part-time staff. In addition to TKD, John fell in love with volleyball and has played various positions over several years on the Mclean HS team as well as several local club-level teams, at one point traveling to Phoenix for the Nationals. John has also dabbled in some other sports such as youth soccer, high school track and wrestling, and recently snowboarding, and regularly works out in his basement man-cave at home.
John plays hard but also works hard. Since first grade he has been in the Fairfax County public school system, and he recently graduated from Mclean High School where in his senior year he was elected President of the entire student body. Beside academic achievements he was an actor in the theater program and a Big Mac. A pandemic was certainly not the way he planned to conclude his primary education, nonetheless in concert with school administration, he helped transition from a formal graduation with traditional senior activities such as the All Night Grad Party, to rather unique, and hopefully not to be repeated, socially distant pandemic graduation activities.
His strong academics (4.24 GPA) and fiery passion for knowledge have propelled him to the University of Virginia where he expects to focus his study on public policy (when the time comes one day, vote for him!) and is considering law school after graduation. Beside the usual video games and deep affinity for music, he is teaching himself guitar; and, his reading material includes the Wall Street Journal, daily. Certainly he will continue to balance academics with various extracurricular activities and sports while at UVA. John has a fierce love of life and fair play, respects nature, is generous to a fault and loves to make and entertain friends.
As for the water and besides long steamy showers, John has learned invaluable skills as a Whomping Turtle that have reinforced his journey of life-long learning. John would like to water ski more, and become certified in scuba diving and as a lifeguard; for now, water parks and roller coasters are on hold. At any time before he leaves for college, you may see John along, or in, Pimmit Run Stream at the waterhole.