The roar from King High School students was deafening Nov. 7 when senior Benjamin Carpenter officially was recognized as a finalist for the inaugural U.S. Army — Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence.
Carpenter, 17, of Brandon, is among 10 high school student-athletes chosen nationwide to vie for the award that honors outstanding student athleticism, academic achievement and community service.
The finalists will travel to San Antonio in January to attend the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and participate in various activities. The winner of the award will be announced at the bowl's awards dinner on Jan. 4.
Carpenter is captain of the Tampa Thunder, a power-wheelchair soccer team, now ranked third in the nation. He was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a congenital condition that causes muscle degeneration and weakness.
A student enrolled in the International Baccalaureate magnet program at King, Carpenter has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout his school years.
He is a Shriner's Hospital for Children patient ambassador and a Junior Achievement volunteer. Carpenter founded the nonprofit Ben's Mends, a company he started to restore and donate damaged books.
Nick Buoniconti, a National Football League Hall-of-Fame member; U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Henry L. Huntley; and Brock Richards, program director at the Pro Football Hall of Fame traveled to Tampa to make the formal presentation in the King High auditorium at North 56th Street and Sligh Avenue, just south of Temple Terrace.