March-April 2012 | Education

Top Teens 2012

Bethesda Magazine's 2012 Extraordinary Teen Awards.

Photo by Michael VenturaBenjamin Forestier

Senior, Lycée Rochambeau

Because he’s in class most weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Benjamin Forestier has little time for anything but academics. Still, the 17-year-old from Bethesda’s Bannockburn neighborhood fills his spare moments managing several activities.

One of Lycée Rochambeau’s top students, Ben handled the fundraising for last year’s prom (where he was crowned king) and for the rugby team’s trip to the World Cup in New Zealand. He also organizes the school’s intramural soccer league schedule, and has been elected to every committee of faculty, parents, students and administrators that meets to discuss student issues.

A class representative and student council member for three years, he was elected by seniors this year as a delegate to the school’s board.

Other accomplishments: As a member of the European version of the Boy Scouts, Ben volunteered at a monastery in Corsica last summer, helping elderly, disabled monks with chores and maintenance projects. He completed the requirements for a U.S. high school diploma last June, taught himself the extra math and physics required for the Math 2 and Physics SAT tests, and is now finishing other courses for a French baccalaureate.

What others say: Counselor Amy Garrou says that Ben is one of the top students in the school’s toughest academic program and that his deep community involvement is a “rare” achievement in the highly academic French system. Ben has attended the school since kindergarten, except for two years in Paris after his father’s death from cancer in 2004. “The things that he’s done and the drive that he has are pretty remarkable,” Garrou says.

What his future holds: Ben wants to be a high-tech entrepreneur or to work in finance in the mathematical arena. “I like the idea of getting things done well and efficiently,” he says. “I find it very satisfying.”