PITTSFIELD -- Taconic High School’s Lucas Benjamin didn’t know he was a candidate, but the senior has been recognized as a 2013 Massachusetts High School Hero.
"I was very surprised," Benjamin said. "I had no idea I was even mentioned for the award."
The award is presented by the Boston sports station 98.5 The Sports Hub and Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation in what a release said is part of an effort to promote high school athletics across Massachusetts, recognizing on and off-field accomplishments of high school student-athletes.
"It is definitely an honor," Benjamin said. "It feels really good to be recognized for all the [activities] I’ve done in context of academic, athletic and extracurricular [activities] at the statewide level."
According to a press release, the program is honoring seven high school students "who demonstrate exemplary work in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community."
Benjamin, captain of the Taconic swim team, is receiving a $1,000 scholarship, and will be recognized at the MIAA state championship football games at Gillette Stadium in December.
The Taconic senior will get his award and the scholarship on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m., on the steps of Pittsfield High School, which is located by the offices of Wheeler & Taylor Insurance in Pittsfield -- a local insurance provider for Plymouth Rock.
Benjamin said that he was told that Pittsfield Public Schools athletic director Jim Abel wrote on his behalf, and that led to his winning the award.
"Based on his position as a hard-working team leader, his strong academic performance and the roles he plays in our community, Lucas is deserving of this recognition," Taconic boys swim coach Mayur Desai said in a statement.
Benjamin, the son of Joseph Benjamin and Bernadette Kennedy, is a four-year veteran of the swim team.
In school, he has a 101 grade-point average and is a member of the Pittsfield district’s Student-Athlete Leadership Academy.
Benjamin is a member of the National Honor Society and has received the Dartmouth Book Award.
Away from school, he is a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions and has served as a volunteer for multiple political campaigns.
"It reflects well on my upbringing in terms of my parents," he said, "and the Pittsfield Public Schools. I wouldn’t be a student-athlete if it wasn’t for my teachers and coaches."