Week 2 Student Athlete Spotlight: Kevin Benavente of Mount Carmel High School

Put yourself in Kevin Benavente’s shoes.

You’re one of the impact skill players in Mount Carmel’s spread offense. Your name is constantly blared on the loudspeaker. You’re counted on for the flash plays that make teenagers and parents scream.

So where would you eat your lunch?

If you’re Kevin, you skip the cool kid’s table and create your own with the Friendship Club, a group devoted to assimilating special needs students into the general population, treating them like anyone else.

"I’m the co-president," Benavente said. "I’ve always been inspired to inspire those around me to get active in the community."

It’s a devotion that lead to a new initiative called Training Champions The Sundevil Way, where the special needs students get to take part in the sports world, including coming through the tunnel at games.

"I wanted to bring something even larger to Friendship Club," Benavente said. "Inspiring kids to become engaged with special needs kids…to build bonds with them…is a great accomplishment."

"He’s the one who came up the idea," Mount Carmel counselor Kim Bronson added. "I thought it was such an amazing idea to meld two things that he’s passionate about together."

Works like these didn’t go unnoticed by one of San Diego’s most exclusive clubs. The Harvard Club naming Benavente their top junior of the year – an award he had to beat out nearly 30 kids across the county for.

"We were given a prompt to respond to…about ripples of hope," Benavente said. "I made a video about my program."

"It’s something I’m proud of because I filmed and edited it on my own."

You can see his video here.

Categories: 2014 PPR Archive, 2015 PPR Features, 2015 PPR Features Part 2, 2015 Student Athlete Spotlight