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Teen skates, writes way to scholarship
When Benjamin Meyerson begins his freshman year at the University of Maryland on Wednesday, he'll likely be among scores of students who have won scholarship money. Few of them, however, will be able to brag that pro skateboard icon Tony Hawk played a role in getting their scholarship.
Meyerson of Oak Park recently learned that he was one of several Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship winners. The Patrick Kerr Foundation provides scholarships to students who are activists for skateboarding in their communities.
Hawk was among those judging essay entries for the scholarship competition.
An avid skateboarder and member of the park district's skate park task force, Meyerson wrote about his instrumental role in getting a skateboard park built in Stevenson Park about two years ago.
"Around the time I started skateboarding, village officials started talking about a skate park," Meyerson said. "That was about five or six years ago."
The project created quite a stir in Oak Park.
Meyerson said many residents protested the idea of a park specifically for skateboarders. "The park district was pushing for a skate park, but some people wanted a Zen garden," he said.
Meyerson helped with the park design that eventually won village approval.
"Before I found out I won (the scholarship), I was told that I was a finalist, which meant I would win at least $1,000," Meyerson said.
He also learned that Hawk liked his essay best among all the entries--and that might have meant a $5,000 award.
"I was just like, `Wow,' Meyerson said. Unfortunately, that prize went to someone else, he said. "I was kind of disappointed about the $5,000, but money is money."
The one-time $1,000 scholarship will help Meyerson and his parents pay his $27,000 out-of-state tab.
Meyerson, whose father, Charles, works for the Chicago Tribune, plans to major in journalism.