Senior Spotlight: International Experiences Have Shaped Bennett Dykstra’s Need to Help Others

by | Aug 2019

Bennett Dykstra, an Edina High School senior

Photo: Chris Emeott

Inspiring students from the class of 2020.

This article originally appeared as part of the story Senior Spotlight in the August 2019 issue. Read the profiles of other inspiring Edina High School students here: Caroline BercawRyan SchenckMariam Diaby

Meet some exemplary students of the Class of 2020. We shine a Senior Spotlight on students at Edina High School who are dedicated, hard-working, have a mind for service and enjoy giving back to the community.

“It’s easy to be classified as a leader,” says Bennett Dykstra. “If you’re going to be a good leader, you need to be able to serve.”

Bennett takes service to heart. As a member of the Student Council, he’s organized events such as a blood drive, homecoming and prom. He also helps with an initiative his sister started to bring together the general student population with those in special needs classes. Outside of school, he is a part of Tapestry Church’s youth group for young people with special needs.

Service is ingrained in the Dykstra family. His father, Jeff Dykstra, moved the whole family to Zambia when Bennett was 4 to work for World Vision. They came back to Edina two years later. Then in 2009, Jeff founded a nonprofit called Partners In Food Solutions and the family moved to Nairobi, Kenya for several months.

“Those two experiences really opened my eyes in terms of how fortunate we are to live in a place like Edina,” Bennett says. “We should be using what we have here to help the less fortunate.”

It’s this need to help others that propels his volunteer efforts and helps him plan for the future.

“I definitely think I’ll be heading to a four-year college. After college, I would love to be able to travel. Living internationally is in my future,” Bennett says. “What my dad does [which is the intersection of nonprofit and relief work and business], that intersect of those two is a passion of mine.”


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