From: Johanna Skilling, "Dr. Ben Carson: Healing and educating children", a Finalist article the "Most Inspiring Person of the Year: 2003" series of articles on the BeliefNet.com website (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/137/story_13700_1.html; viewed 23 October 2005):
Dr. Benjamin Carson, one of the most distinguished surgeons in the world, is the director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, where he performs hundreds of operations each year on the most delicate and complicated areas of the human body: the brain, spine, and nervous system.
Dr. Carson has written more than 90 medical articles and three best-selling books. So it's hard to imagine that Ben Carson's grade-school nickname back in Detroit was "Dummy," and that Ben himself believed that he was "the stupidest kid in the fifth grade." Ben wasn't stupid -- far from it -- but he was angry and unmotivated.
That's when his mother stepped in. Sonya Carson was a single mother who worked long hours as a maid -- often working three jobs a day to make ends meet. She insisted that Ben and older brother Curtis read two books every week and write reports about them. Years later, Carson would learn that his mother, who only had a third-grade education, had been unable to read the reports. The kid who hated school grew to love books and became known as the smartest kid in class. He also absorbed his mother's Seventh-Day Adventist faith, which sustains him today.
Carson won a scholarship to Yale. After graduating from University of Michigan Medical School, he went to work as a neurosurgery resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1984, when he was only 33 years old, Carson became head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins. Not long afterward, he made history as the first surgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the back of the head.
With all his achievements, Carson has never forgotten his most valuable lesson. He speaks frequently to groups all over the country, spreading the message that education leads to liberation and that children should be encouraged to strive for excellence.
And he does more than speak. Ben and his wife Candy, now parents of three, are founders of the Carson Scholars Fund, which has awarded college tuition grants to more than 550 children--rewarding good students in the same way athletes are rewarded in school...