Photo by Edwin Perez ‘18 | Ben Paul ’18 streches during warmups of the Quaterfinal Perry game.
By Alex Kirshner ’18
Brophy encourages its students to expand their horizons and leave their comfort zone, something that one of The Roundup’s Man of the Year runner-ups, Ben Paul ’18, took to heart.
“I think freshman year I was mostly interested in sports, because that’s kind of all I’ve known in grade school,” he said. “It wasn’t until Brophy where I started to branch out… I got involved with other activities and immersion trips. I got involved in other areas, and my world views have changed a lot because of that.”
Paul played football and basketball freshman year and was one of the main contributors on the varsity basketball team that went undefeated in regional play and made it to the semifinals. Despite the successful season, he said that his most memorable experience at Brophy was the El Salvador immersion trip.
“It’s probably the most transformative twelve days that I’ll ever experience,” he said.
Paul said that the El Salvador immersion trip was instrumental in changing his world views
“I think, for so much of my life, I never really saw the world outside of my niche,” he said. “I always saw the United States, and then everywhere else, but El Salvador made me see the world as looking in on the United States.”
Mr. Austin Pidgeon ’08, who also went on the El Salvador immersion trip while he was at Brophy and even attended the same grade school as Paul, said that they have a shared understanding of the problems that the El Salvadorians experience.
“For us, given where we came from… having the opportunity to go there and see how a large part of the world lives is shocking and can be hard to deal with,” he said. “Having people who have shared that experience with you can make it easier to process.”
Paul said that El Salvador influenced his college decision process and made him want to continue his education at a Jesuit University.
“Once you’re Jesuit educated, you have on obligation to move on and take that foundation with you,” he said. “I can see myself going on service trips and getting involved with campus leadership, and that’s really started here.”
Pidgeon also coached Paul his junior year, and had him in his Honors English II class sophomore year.
“Ben is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. “He is the epitome of sacrificing his body for the need of the team.”
Senior Jaxson Baker ’18, who has played varsity basketball with Paul, said that he has always been a leader on the team.
“He’s always been a leader,” he said. “Sometimes he’s been more of a quiet leader, but one thing Ben always does is leads by example.”
Mr. Pidgeon echoed this sentiment, calling him a servant leader.
“He leads by doing, he doesn’t need to say anything…,” he said. “He doesn’t need attention drawn to him.”
Paul said that he is grateful for the Brophy basketball program for helping him develop into a leader.