Gateway: News

2015 Students of Distinction: Ben Weymiller

Ben Weymiller feels strongly about taking any opportunity to help people who are less fortunate. His first community service project was in fourth grade, when at the age of 10 he decided to raise money for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Inspired by a baby cousin whose family spent a lot of time with him in the hospital — and lost a rocking chair while there — he decided to give his allowance toward the purchase of a chair for the hospital. When he realized his $45 was a fraction of the actual cost, Weymiller decided to do a fundraiser instead.

With the support of the hospital’s foundation, he pursued the idea of a Rock-A-Thon and became a participant in the Festival of Trees. Weymiller’s idea raised $85,000 — enough for each hospital room to have a rocking chair.

“It was very progressive (for the hospital) to listen to a fourth-grader to pitch an idea to raise money,” he said. “They opened the door for me.”

Weymiller has continued his support for Festival of Trees for eight years, raising a total of about $110,000 for various needs. He was recognized with an award named after him — the Ben Weymiller Youth Hero Award — and after becoming the first recipient, he has been presenting it every year to other youth.

“He is a unique individual who understands that service over self is an important value. It is a major part of his life,” said Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Foundation Executive Director Frank Colarusso.

Weymiller’s involvement with the hospital is only part of his success. He has volunteered time for many other community service activities while also maintaining a near-perfect GPA and participating in sports.

Weymiller has been studying Chinese for four years, and last summer visited China; he was also selected to be student ambassador, promoting the importance of studying the language.

“He is highly self-motivated, always willing to learn something new and eager to be a participant with whatever group he is involved with,” said English teacher Lynda Richards. “His personality is infectious and everyone is happy to be in his company.”

He’s been playing baseball since early childhood and has been on Peninsula’s varsity team all four years. Weymiller is considering playing baseball in college as well.

He hasn’t decided on a college or major yet but his top choices are math-related fields such as engineering, economics or investing.