Caleb Franklin

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

high school: Brentwood

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Social Studies

"The stony road can often lead to a smooth path" (Sarah Wallace). The road traveled by African-American males in South Central Los Angeles, where Caleb Franklin was born and raised, is often rocky, so when he was invited in sixth grade to become an "A Better Chance Scholar," he gratefully signed on. The program prepares students of color for admission into prominent high schools around the nation; Caleb was accepted into the Brentwood School in Los Angeles.

From the beginning, Caleb took an active role in sports and school activities. He was an important contributor to the varsity track and field team and, as he admits, "warmed the bench" for the junior varsity basketball team for two years before moving up to varsity. He participated in Brentwood’s multi-cultural discussion and Christian awareness groups, rising to become vice-president of both.

Throughout, Caleb demonstrated "positive leadership, maturity, a sense of perspective, and infectious spirit," according to Brentwood’s guidance staff. It was most likely for these qualities that his peers elected him Head Prefect (Student Body President) for his senior year. Caleb lived up to expectations, spending over twenty hours a week on his responsibilities. At the same time, he was one of only two student members serving on Brentwood’s Committee on Diversity.

Caleb also excelled in the performing arts. Having played the violin since the third grade, he joined the school orchestra, eventually becoming its Concertmaster, and the Pasadena Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. The latter group was invited to perform in Washington, D.C. in a nation-wide competition. Caleb, as first violinist, accepted a Congressional Proclamation for the orchestra’s award-winning performance.

During the last two years, Caleb has taken advantage of other opportunities offered to him. By becoming a Riordan Scholar, he participated in an outreach program that introduces minority students from Los Angeles to the business world, and through the LEAD Program, he spent a month at the University of Arizona. Finally, Caleb became involved in a community service program that placed him on a Native American Reservation in New Mexico for a week. "Not only was I given a chance to help some fellow human beings," he says about the experience, "but I was also given an opportunity to better myself."

Although the road ahead seems smooth for Caleb, he appreciates the fact that it may not be so for others. As he explores the opportunities open to him, he hopes to create opportunities and to smooth out the road for the many who will come after him.

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