2023 Students of Distinction

Benjamin Forhan went above and beyond to serve the community

Posted on May 12th, 2023 By:

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. The students will be honored during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Student: Benjamin Forhan

School: Gig Harbor High School

Category: Community Service Achievement

If there’s a task that needs extra hands, Benjamin Forhan is there to help.

During his high school career, Benjamin has volunteered at FISH Food Bank, Tidefest and the Washington Education Association Children’s Fund that makes sure every child has clothing and supplies needed for school, to name but a few.

He has been captain of the STEM Club’s Robotics Team and a leader in DECA and National Honor Society. This year he was an editor of the school’s yearbook.

He also has been a soloist and section leader with Meistersingers.

In the process, he has accumulated more than 500 hours and earned a varsity letter in community service.

Add to all that, Benjamin is NCAA Certified in fencing and certified as a lifeguard and in first aid. And he’s a Merit Award Scholar.

Homework Helpers and Problem Solvers

During the pandemic he co-founded Homework Helpers and Problem Solvers with his sister. “She and I like to work together and we both like to do things that help others,” he said.

Problem Solvers is a four-week Introduction to Engineering workshop for fourth and fifth grade girls at Voyager Elementary School. “The idea is to demystify engineering and STEM classes and create community for elementary school girls,” he said. The classes explore a different field of engineering each week and showcase examples of women who’ve done important work in the field.

Homework Helpers is a free, Zoom-based math tutoring service for any student in the school district who needed extra help and support during remote learning.

“Usually GHHS has free tutoring services, but during the pandemic those services weren’t available. So my sister and I jumped in to fill the gap,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin Forhan

Those two tutoring projects have been Benjamin’s favorite high school activities and the things he’s most proud of.

“We had about 30 kids in Problem Solvers and it was really impactful to be able to help them during COVID, because so many kids were struggling with on-line learning,” he said.

Coping with ADHD

Benjamin’s biggest challenge in high school was remembering his assignments. “I have ADHD so I struggled with remembering what I was supposed to do,” he said. His solution was to take photographs of the boards in each class to keep track of what was being taught and what was needed.

Melissa Kline, AP Calculus teacher at GHHS, called Benjamin “an outstanding example of a quality student. He has proved that he is a student-leader in the classroom and is always willing to give support to a peer when they are struggling. And he contributes his ideas to the class. I can always rely on him to be a positive leader.”

This fall, Benjamin will attend Tulane University in Louisiana where he plans to study finance. He hopes to work as a financial analyst with a commercial real estate focus. One of the reasons he chose Tulane is they require a certain number of community service hours in order to graduate.

His suggestions to younger students on how to be successful in high school? “Don’t procrastinate. Keep up with your homework assignments and learn to manage your time.

“Also, don’t avoid AP classes  – because those teachers are insanely good at teaching and sometimes AP classes are actually easier than regular classes. And you can get lots of help outside class if you need it.

“And apply early for college, so you have plenty of time to make a good choice.”

Benjamin Forhan

Parents: Malin and Robert Forhan

Achievements: 500+ hours of volunteer service including WEA Children’s Fund volunteer and event volunteer; co-founder ­– Problem Solvers Workshop and Homework Helpers; FISH Food Bank volunteer; TideFest volunteer; STEM Club – Robotics Team captain; DECA Club –Yearbook junior editor; Vocal Motion/Meistersingers – Section leader; National Honor Society; fencing; billiards; TSA state and national qualifier; lifeguard and first aid certified; Merit Award Scholar; DECA state qualifier

Favorite teacher: Mrs. Klein – “When I first started taking calculus I was confused and intimidated. In the two years I’ve had Mrs. Klein though, calculus has become my favorite class. The way she works through problems makes even the most confusing problem make sense and I’ve fallen even further in love with math.”

Best thing about GHHS: “The opportunities it offers. Through the wide range of classes and clubs available, I was able to explore many different subjects and stretch myself both intellectually and emotionally. Throughout my four years at GHHS I have had the pleasure of being taught by amazing, dedicated teachers that were always willing to go above and beyond for their students.”