As excited as he is to attend American University and pursue a career in law, Brighton High senior and AP Capstone Diploma candidate Ben Balent has been getting nostalgic with the end of the 2022-23 school year approaching.
“It’s almost a little sad. I was talking to my mom about this. You know when you die how your life’s supposed to flash before your eyes? Yeah, I’m getting that same thing with graduation,” Balent said. “As a senior, I’m walking around the school and getting all of these flashbacks.”
Some flashbacks go back to when he was a freshman and sophomore in the old Brighton High, when he played soccer for the Bengals, fun friendships, late-night homework sessions, and even the pandemic that gave students a unique experience.
Balent’s family moved to Utah from Texas when he was a baby. They liked Utah so much they stayed.
Balent recalls being a freshman, almost idolizing seniors on the soccer team who’d just won a state championship. “I looked at these people as just like big Greek gods, just ginormous and I was tiny.” Three quick years later, he’s now the senior (though he still doesn’t feel like he’s as big as his seniors were). Time flies.
With an eye to the future, Balent took a challenging course load to prepare for the rigors of college and his career as a lawyer. His approach: Better to get used to the grind earlier than later.
“Probably the best thing that high school did was just really start me on that grind mentality,” he said. “I had this mindset that I would finish whatever I was working on — whatever homework I needed to get done — every single day,” he said. “I don’t care if it took me to like three in the morning.”
Speaking of all-nighters, Senior Sunrise is a memory he cherishes. Per tradition, Brighton seniors gather the night before, sleep on bean bags on the football field and eat breakfast together after sunrise.
“I still had to go to school Friday and it was just the worst day of my life,” he said, laughing. “But it was so fun because you had all the seniors I’ve known for four or five years all together for one last night.”
Balent didn’t make the soccer team his junior year, but he turned that into a positive by delving into tough classes and devoting extracurricular time to the Bengal’s Model United Nations program, which has long been ranked as the best in the country. He qualified for the national competition the past two years.
While working to achieve an AP Capstone Diploma, an honor earned by only a fraction of graduates, Balent took a whopping six AP classes. He even earned his Eagle Scout award.
His advice to younger high school students?
“Just enjoy it,” Balent said. “It really does fly by so fast and (soon) you’re gonna be reflecting on this stuff. Enjoy it. It doesn’t last forever. It’s such a fun time. College is very different. Obviously, you’re never gonna get these years back, so you just enjoy it.”