WITH THE prodding and support of his determined mother, young Ben Carson made a momentous decision as a boy bTC growing up in a poor inner-city neighborhood in Detroit.
He decided to succeed, to make something of himself. And did he.
Within a couple of years, he went from what he describes as the class dummy in grade school to the top of his class. He graduated from Yale and attended medical school.
When his plans to become a psychiatrist didn't pan out, he assessed his talents and decided to try neurosurgery.
Now, as head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he enjoys a worldwide reputation for such feats as separating Zambian twins joined at the top of their brains.
That 28-hour procedure, conducted in South Africa four months ago, was the third time Dr. Carson had been called on to separate Siamese twins.
If his fame as a surgeon reaches around the globe, his inspiration to young people is also spreading far and wide.
He and his wife, Candy, have set up scholarship programs to help drive home the message that great nations need young people who strive for intellectual achievement, not just the fleeting fame that comes from sports or show-business celebrity.
Last week, Dr. Carson announced that the Carson Scholars Fund is asking Baltimore-area schools to nominate top students -- even as young as first grade -- for a program that will allow them to apply for $1,000 in scholarship funds every year until they graduate from high school. The money will be invested for use at a four-year college.
By identifying younger students and emphasizing the importance of high achievement, the program will also teach students the value of working steadily toward a long-term goal.
Through the example of his life, Dr. Carson is showing young people that they can dream big. Through his scholarship program, he is helping those dreams come true.
Bright Lights spotlights people who make a difference in the quality of life of this area. It appears periodically in this column.
Pub Date: 5/04/98