This month former Noel-Baker Academy Sixth Form Student Benson Arogbo will graduate from The University of Maine Fort Kent following a five year stint in America.
Benson, who left Noel-Baker in 2013 has had quite a journey. He first secured a spot at Lassen Community College in California, fulfilling his dream of playing basketball in the United States. After completing his Associate Arts Degree (similar to a HND in the UK) Benson earned a basketball scholarship to "top up" his qualification at University of Maine Fort Kent.
In addition to competing on the varsity basketball team and travelling throughout the north-eastern United States, Benson has excelled in his studies gaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management.
From speaking to Benson his fondness is clear and there is little doubt that he wouldn't be where he is today without Noel-Baker.
"My favourite teacher was Mr Wiggins from my BTEC sports class. But I liked all the teachers and the local area. It became my home for three years, I pretty much lived at the place either studying or in the sports hall."
Attending Noel-Baker sixth form and being part of the elite Derby Trailblazers basketball academy was without doubt a game changer for Benson.
"When I came to Noel Baker I really didn't think I'd be good enough to make it to America. I actually wish I'd joined Trailblazers earlier as it would have made me better sooner. My first season I didn't even play for the first team and I wasn't highly motivated in the classroom. I kept working hard on the court and also in the classroom as I realised I'd need good grades to progress. Eventually, in my third year I was a big part of the team that won the National title. It was a great part of my life. I learnt so much that prepared me for my time in the states."
Benson, who grow up in Nottingham was part of the Basketball Academy in its inaugural year.
Coach Shaw remembers Benson with a big smile, "Benson was the first player to join our academy in the summer of 2009, so he always has a special place in our Basketball Academy history. I remember him catching three buses a day from the other side of Nottingham starting at 6am just to get to sixth form at 8.45. I don't think he realised how committed he was becoming to sport and studying."
Like many young aspiring basketball players Benson's dream was to play in America. After many emails and conversations with coaches from USA the opportunity finally turned up at Lassen Community College. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In light of the ongoing situation, we are supporting our academies
In response to the current situation and the government’s requirements, L.E.A.D.
We are helping and supporting our academies to ensure a safe