Woodlawn HS million-dollar scholar reacts to college cheating scandal

Hard work getting into college

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Woodlawn High School valedictorian Benjamin Holmes has been busy lately opening acceptance letters from over 30 colleges. At last check, he has been awarded more than one million dollars in scholarships. He’s been accepted to colleges on every coast.

"I contacted college and mission counselors over the summer time and spoke with him and when August came around, I got the move-in got to applying it was stressful very stressful, but I made it,” Holmes said.

As Hollywood finds itself in the middle of a celebrity college cheating scandal, Holmes tells us he got accepted based on his performance in school. One of the universities he’s considering is the University of Southern California, which the same school where investigators say actress Lori Loughlin and her husband paid as much as $500,000 to get both their daughters accepted.

"The people that did earn it the right way, it doesn’t diminish their brightness or their talent. We’re going to continue to thrive,” Holmes said.

Holmes says when the wealthy allegedly take advantage of the college admissions process, it can hurt bright students in undeserved communities. Students who in some cases work a lot harder than others. He says the system needs to change.

"I’m not sure how to fix the problem, but it needs to be fixed and something needs to be in place where parents can’t bribe the admissions officers to pay for their students spot because there’s other students that work hard and apply and are looking for that opportunity,” Holmes said.

Homes has 42 college credits under his belt and plans to triple major in secondary education, anthropology and integrated biology. He wants to come back home and teach in the Birmingham City School system.

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