Most people can easily recognize the unusually long, curly hair in the hallways at Central High School, but I had the opportunity to talk to the man behind the hair, face to face, man to… well, woman.
“It’s kind of surprising, most people wonder what type of conditioner I use but I actually don’t use any.” (I know we were all wondering how Nic Benson maintains those luscious locks). “Whenever I brush it, it takes like a half hour, so I do it two or three times a week.” said Benson. And if you were wondering how long his hair is; “18 inches, I’ve been growing it since eighth grade, so just a little over four years.”
Now, let’s get into other details of Nic’s life (not about his hair). Nic is heavily involved in the fine arts department and has been all four years of high school. He’s always known he wanted to be apart of it ever since elementary and middle school days. “I stared acting in the theatre program the beginning of my freshman year, but I’ve been a part of the theatre program since 2009 when my older brother was there as an audience member… So I guess however many years that is; five to 12, seven, but legitimately four.”
If you went to see Central’s fall play, The Crucible, you might’ve seen Nic too. He portrayed the character of “Hale”, which in fact was his favorite show to be involved in; “I really enjoyed my role as John Hale. He’s the guy who knew what was going on and it was fun to be the one character who is trying to convince/change the minds of other people because that’s a real struggle in real life; trying to convince people of things, especially with today’s modern, busy, political climates. So it was interesting from a 1600’s perspective.”
Theatre isn’t the only thing Nic is involved in. He also enjoys playing trombone (which he just picked up this year). “I joined band, marching band, and pepband on trombone. I’ve also been playing the bass in jazzband and string bass in orchestra since my freshman year.” On top of all that, he is also going to pick up tennis this spring. Talk about a busy bee! However, because of this newly acclaimed sport, Nic will not be involved in his last show, Central’s spring play The Royal Family. “It’s kind of sad because I’ve done every show up until this point, but I’m really excited for tennis because it’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of.” Nic has been playing tennis off and on his whole life, but never in an organized fashion. “I’d say my excitement for tennis trumps my sorrow for not being able to do the show. I feel good about my decision and what will make me happiest in the long run.” Nic has done about 14 productions, but 0 tennis meets.
If you haven’t noticed by now, Nic Benson is a risk taker. From growing his hair out 18 inches to trying a new sport, to playing a new instrument his senior year, fear is not in Benson’s vocabulary. If you know Nic well, you know that as a kid his parents made him do a new sport every year, and if he didn’t like it, they would let him quit. “But I had to do it for one year. I think it helped me in becoming a well-rounded person.”
Since Nic is a senior, I asked a couple questions to reflect on his last four years here at Central High school. He had this to say about his favorite part of his high school career; “Probably all of the opportunities in the music department. My morning right now is going to orchestra, band and then an hour later I go to jazzband. I’m spending, in class time, over an hour and a half every day playing music.” After asking which class he enjoys most, he told me playing bass in jazzband is probably his favorite. Speaking of favorites, we had the chance to talk about some of his favorite teachers. “Best teacher as in education wise is tied between Mr. Sheehy and Dr. Farrar because they taught me a lot about general school stuff like learning and how to learn, but the best teacher I had for teaching me about myself is Mr. Belsaas, while he did teach me a lot about jazz, he more taught me about being a human and interactions with other humans.” As for after high school, Nic plans to attend Montana State University for mechanical engineering.
Alright now that we’ve put the face with the hair, here is the moment you all have been waiting for… fun facts with Nic Benson! Nic has 2 brothers, the younger brother is Gunnar Benson who is 15 years old, and the older brother, Aaron Benson, …“who is 23 or 24, I can’t remember.” Nic also has some hidden talents, “I can’t hold a handstand very long but if I’m against a wall, I can do like 3 handstand pushups, which is probably my greatest physical achievement!” Another hidden talent that most people don’t know about Benson is fencing. “I used to fence for 3 years. I’m a pretty good swordsman.” In fact, Nic helped choreograph the sword fighting in Central’s production of Romeo and Juliet over a year ago. And in case you were wondering, I found out his favorite marvel superhero; “Easily Ironman… actually, Spiderman… I take it back, they’re tied.”
I will finish up this article with some wise words from the fearless Nic Benson. When asked what is the most valuable life lesson he’s learned, he responded; “To not put other people before yourself all the time, it’s good to help out other people but you should always remember to care for yourself. A lot of times, people will give and give and give, and then they get burnt out. Remember to let go of everybody every once in a while.”
Photo: Courtesy Of Nic’s Mom’s Facebook