A+ Athlete: Ben Branam, Bells

This week's A+ Athlete is Ben Branam of Bells High School. Ben is very involved in athletics. He's on the baseball team, helping the Panthers to the playoffs the last two years.

He's a power lifter, and a key part of the Panthers offensive line, where he was named all district. But for Ben, it's not about the personal achievements, it's about being a part of the team.

"I like being around them, I like being around the game," said A+ Athlete Ben Branam. "I like being around my team and coaches. I like going out there and testing out my physical ability. I love all of it."

"Ben's going to give you his best effort in whatever that may be, no matter the challenge in front of him," said Bells coach and Principal Clay Rolen. "He's every coaches dream, and every teachers dream as far as that goes. He's going to give you everything he's got, he's going to do his best no matter what."

And doing his best transfers over into the class room. Ben is number 3 in his class, he scored a 32 on the ACT, he's on the superintendent's honor roll every semester, and he's qualified for national's in the Beta club creative writing competition twice, so he's no stranger to putting in the hard work.

"I realize that grades aren't necessarily a reflection of how smart or intelligent you are, it's a reflection of how much work you've put in," said Branam. "With my mom being a former educator, and my aunt being an English teacher here at Bells, I've learned a lot about the educational system. They've instilled in me a desire to go and be the best I can be, no matter what."

"I think he knows that excellence is hard to achieve, and he's capable of doing it," said Bells Director of Band Jennifer Sewell. He does a great job with football, he does a great job with band, and he's always on top with his classes. He's always doing what he needs to be doing, he just does it well."

Ben is also in student council, he serves as the beta club president, and he plays French horn in the Bells high school band. After he graduates, Ben hopes to attend Texas A&M University to pursue a career in Civil Engineering.