Danielle Benjamin ’91 found her way to George School through Oliver Scholars, a program which prepares high-achieving Black and Latino students from underserved New York City communities for success at top independent schools and prestigious colleges. “At that time John Hoffman ’73 was the director of Oliver Scholars and he took a group of us to visit campus. Despite a dreary, rainy day John’s enthusiasm for George School along with the beauty and grandeur of Main building made me fall in love. I thought schools like George School only existed in films and I did not apply anywhere else,” said Danielle. “Everyone was smart, genuine, kind, positive, and welcoming. I had the opportunity to meet several students of color and after speaking with them I knew I would fit in.”
“George School is a diverse and vibrant community but at the same time it is peaceful, warm, and accepting. That is a hard combination to find,” said Danielle. “Students are engaged with the school and the outside world. They are optimistic and committed to making a better world. As a boarding student the dormitory is your home and safe space. Other students and faculty become your family. Because our lives are so intertwined, you have a lot of people who understand what you are going through and can help you. I never felt alone or isolated at George School,” Danielle commented. “Nate McKee ’79 (Deans’ Office) was an important figure in my life, and my friends and I spent countless hours in his office hanging out, laughing, and being guided without knowing we were being guided. I laughed all the time at George School. I loved being around my friends. I loved dinner in the Dining Room and sitting around the table talking. I loved attending football games and track meets.”
“I took many creative arts classes like musical theater, ceramics, and photography,” continued Danielle. “I wanted to explore and try everything. These courses would not have been available to me in another high school, and I appreciated that they were open to me. My most memorable experience was my trip to France as I was able to practice my newly acquired French language skills and enhance my knowledge about French culture because I lived with a French family. This opened my eyes to the world outside.”
Danielle credits George School for setting her on her path to success. She attended Wesleyan University after George School and then completed her MBA at Georgetown University. Afterwards, she moved to Los Angeles and spent most of her professional career at Toyota North America overseeing national events and media strategy for Toyota’s tops selling models. Currently, she works at Mattel overseeing global marketing for the Location Based Entertainment group.
“George School taught me the importance of community,” said Danielle. “Working at Toyota and Mattel is a source of pride for me because they are committed to making the world a better place and the customer is part of the community and comes first. To be successful, you must respect the consumer, understand and listen to what they want, and then deliver it. Furthermore, as a corporate marketer, I use my position as a force for good, ensuring the messages I put out into the world are inclusive and aspirational.”
“Attending George School was a dream come true. There is no way I would have been able to attend without the John and Jackie Streetz Scholarship and I am forever grateful to those who made this scholarship, and all scholarships at George School possible.”