GHS Student Mentors Cannon Elementary Students
The workload on a high school senior can be immense. From a full class schedule, to extracurriculars, to preparing for life after graduation, many seniors are on the go from sun up to sun down and beyond. Ben Kobel, a senior at Grapevine High, is no different. However, he has graciously added another activity to his calendar, and one that is certainly unique to him; Cannon Elementary FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Team Mentor.

In one of the busiest years of his life, Ben has made giving back to the next generation of robotics students a priority. Each Tuesday and Thursday from September through February, Ben spent time after school at Cannon helping the FLL Team achieve its goals.

“To me, being a mentor meant more than just helping them achieve a higher score on the robot game portion of FLL,” Kobel said. “It also meant passing along information and skills that I have learned to the next generation of engineers and problem solvers.”

Ben moved to Cannon Elementary in 4th grade and signed up for the FLL team in his first year on campus. That is where his passion for engineering really began to flourish. Ben went on to compete at Grapevine Middle School and as a freshman at GHS. 

Ben has also become an accomplished member of the GHS swim team and competed in the UIL State Swim Meet this year. Even though he no longer is part of the competitive robotics team at GHS, his combination of skills learned as part of swimming and previously on robotics teams has been invaluable to the current students at Cannon.

“I want to teach them not just how to make their LEGO assembly more stable,” said Kobel. “But also how to keep cool under pressure, how to be a better competitor and show more gracious professionalism within a competitive setting. My success has been in part due to teachers who have believed in me, and I want to help provide that to these students.”

One of those teachers that believed in Ben is Julee Vorachard, a STEM Technology Integration Coach at Cannon Elementary, and current coach of the school’s FLL team. 

“I don't have the words to explain exactly how much Ben’s mentorship meant to our entire FLL team,” Vorachard said. “He has been a quiet hero to us all. I was filled with pride watching him selflessly and tirelessly share his knowledge, model perseverance, and build relationships with kids who needed him more than he knew.”

Ben will graduate from GHS later this month, and next year he will be studying Architectural Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Congratulations to Ben and all of the GCISD seniors who are surely going to go out and have a positive impact on our world.