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Tennis, older sister fueled Victoria West salutatorian (w/video)

By Carolina Astrain
June 4, 2014 at 1:04 a.m.
Updated June 5, 2014 at 1:05 a.m.

Above: Chase Bennett, 18, is graduating as this year's Victoria West High School salutatorian. In addition to a number of other extra curricular activities, Bennett was also the captain of the Warrior tennis team. "It has taught me how to not give up," Bennett said of tennis helping his academic career.

CHASE BENNETT

GPA: 103.52

College: University of Texas in Austin

Parents: Mace and Nancy Bennett, majoring in political science

Experience and activities: The National Honor Society, Student Council, Key Club, Victoria ISD Student Leadership Team, Class of 2014 class president, Environmental Services Ecological Teen Group, Speech and Debate Team, Varsity Tennis Team

Awards: Award of Excellence, Honor Roll, Certificate of Academic Excellence, Victoria West High School Leadership Award, Pre-Calculus Outstanding Student Award, President's Award for Educational Excellence, Victoria West High School Circle of Excellence, second place in the Victoria ISD Science and Engineering Fair Senior Division in Plant Sciences, National Society of High School Scholars, Most Likely To Succeed, Homecoming Court, Prom Court, Rotary Youth Leadership Award

Chase Bennett has always considered his older sister, Devon Bennett, his idol.

"I don't think she's as smart as me, but she's pretty successful," Bennett said with a confident smile spread across his face.

Bennett, 18, will give two speeches at Victoria West High School's graduation on Friday - one as class salutatorian and another as class president.

"I'll miss all the giving back I was able to do through school," Bennett said while reminiscing at the campus tennis courts.

His sister, Devon Bennett, graduated from college earlier this spring. She previously served as Key Club president at Memorial High School before the new high schools opened.

"I'm definitely competitive with her," Bennett said. "I had to one-up her some way."

In the spirit of competition, Bennett, one of the first students from Victoria West's inaugural class in 2010, founded the Victoria West Key Club and served as president his junior year.

Tennis, Bennett said, helped him develop leadership skills and gave fuel to his competitive nature.

"Tennis taught me how to be a leader and not to give up," said Bennett, captain of the Victoria West tennis team. "I've lost several times at tennis, but I always know it's never over."

Bennett said the class valedictorian, Breanna Takacs, is one of his closest friends.

"We used to quiz each other before class," Bennett said. "She got it fair and square."

Earlier this spring, Bennett participated in Shattered Dreams, a real-life demonstration advocating against drunken driving, as the actor playing the drunken driver.

"Shattered Dreams helped me realize how precious life is," Bennett said.

His green eyes looked out onto the court, the wind flapping his straight, dark hair.

"I would like to see less substitutes and more teachers in the classroom," Bennett said. "I also want to see more traditions started and continued here."

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