I am a fifth-generation member of Royal Neighbors of America®. I come from a long line of strong women leaders and educators.
My Great-Great-Grandmother, Annie Tuynman Benson, was involved with volunteer and humanitarian work for her church and community. In 1918, during the Spanish Flu, she established an infirmary in her farmhouse for local farmhands, and they all survived.
My Great-Grandmother, Agnes Benson Cable Creamer, drove a horse and buggy six miles to teach school in a one-room schoolhouse to support her parents and siblings through the Great Depression. She continued teaching throughout her life and was a community leader until age 104.
My Grandmother, Linda Cable Kakela, was a community leader in city government for decades. As a grant writer, she raised over 60 million dollars to improve the community infrastructure, foster cultural integration, and preserve open space in our hometown.
My mother, Anne Summertime Kakela, was an Olympic rower and coached at the collegiate and Olympic levels. Her focus was on developing talent and helping young athletes achieve their dreams.
Me, Beck Kakela Honebein … my legacy is yet to be determined, but it has been shaped by these women and their passion. I do know that I love to teach, coach, and mentor youth. My goal is to get a degree while pursuing athletic achievements which will give me knowledge and experiences to pass along to others.
I just started my college journey. I am in my first weeks attending Syracuse University, my first choice university and one of the top Division 1 rowing programs in the country. Having been recruited to row, I am jumping into a degree in biology and a year-round Division 1 sport.
So far, I have been surprised by how nice everyone has been and how easy it is to make friends, some of whom will be friends for life. I am challenging myself in the classroom with two lab classes in biology and chemistry, as well as exploring new subjects I have never had an opportunity to study. We have started practices and will be preparing for the fall racing season. There are many new and exciting opportunities that I am looking forward to.
Through high school, I volunteered and mentored youth through church and sports programs, working with underprivileged kids and assisting with learn-to-skate programs for hockey. I valued those experiences and other opportunities to coach and mentor youth. I have already been presented with opportunities at Syracuse to get involved with the surrounding community, which I plan to take advantage of over the next four years.
I appreciate the support Royal Neighbors provides with their scholarship that enables me to pursue my dreams and goals while alleviating some of the financial burden on my family. Inspired by the generations of Royal Neighbors before me, I am committed to making a positive impact on my community and the world.