FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - One local student credits traveling and taking changes with putting him at the head of his class.
"I only think of next year. You know, when I go to college. Honestly, it's just something you have to accept. I don't see it now, but it's going to help in the future," said Chris Van Baaren, a senior at Kings Academy.
Chris said it can be easy to slack off in high school, but he's glad he put in the elbow grease, because it's paying off.
"Whatever you do in your freshman, sophomore and junior years all lead up to getting accepted and getting those scholarships and stuff like that," Chris said.
Chris was recently awarded several college scholarships, including the McLeod Geoffrey Kier Memorial Scholarship.
He plays soccer and basketball for his school. He ultimately plans to end up working in business.
"I'm now going to go to the University of South Carolina to study International Business," Chris said.
Chris's childhood is giving him a leg up when it comes to the studies he will take on in the IBEA program at USC.
Students selected in this program are exposed to an array of cultures and stay for one semester in another country.
Chris speaks Dutch; it's a skill he picked after living in the Netherlands.
This summer, he will put another notch in his belt by learning another language.
"This summer I'm going to be going to Germany to take a seven-week intensive course. I'll learn German, I know Dutch. It's similar, but a little different," Chris said.
He encourages his peers to get out and seek new experiences and take in the world, because it has its benefits.
"I think to be the most successful and get the most potential out of yourself you definitely want to go out no necessarily into the world, but get out of your comfort zone and learn different languages, meet different people," Chris said.