H54K: Burke County 12-year-old overcomes the tragedy of losing a father to get good grades again

H54K: Burke County 12-year-old overcomes the tragedy of losing a father to get good grades again

BURKE COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Every week FOX54 celebrates kids who are shining bright in our community, doing good for others, or provide inspiration for their peers.

That’s why a 12-year-old Burke County Middle School student, who is striving to persevere after suffering heartbreaking loss, is this week’s “High 5 4 Kids” honoree.

A photo with his father – it’s one of the last cherished memories 12-year-old Bennie Bonner has of his dad.

“I just didn’t care about anything, like . . . I didn’t want to go to school, at home I wasn’t the same person,” Bonner said.

Ranatta Grace - Bennie’s teacher

“He had a difficult time,” his teacher, Ranatta Grace said. “His grades had slipped, and his behavior had got a little bit out of control, and it seems like he had just given up.”

A car accident stole his father’s life. The tragedy - stealing Bennie’s focus, sending him back to repeat 6th grade.

“When I stayed back, like I just had to get myself together because I wasn’t doing good things,” he said.

With goals of playing high school football and college dreams firmly in mind, he turned his grades and behavior around.

“Every day he sits with a group of boys at lunch and he provides words of encouragement for those kids,” Grace said, “especially those that get into trouble.”

Now Bennie’s teacher hopes he’ll continue to turn the hurt into something positive as he continues to heal.

“We all go through tough times in our life, and I just don’t want him to give up,” Grace said, “and I just want to use what happened, you know, and try to help somebody else.”

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