Editor's Note: The following article appeared in the June 2011- Volume 99, Issue 5 edition of The Columbian, the student newspaper of Columbia High School.
By Justin Block, Columbia High School Senior, The Columbia Co-Editor in Chief with additional reporting by Willem Lefevre, Columbia High School Junior.
While many Columbia High School students have minimum wage, part-time jobs at local businesses, Ben Drucker, ’11, has his own companies to look after. He is not running any informal babysitting, lawn mowing, or tutoring services, however; his competition is not the kid next door, but rather professionals working a nine-to-five job.
Drucker started his first business venture, a photography company called Ben Drucker Photography, at the beginning of his freshman year, and it is his largest ongoing operation to date. “I started the photography business because I saw that a number of the big, established names in the area weren’t generating much excitement among their customers,” said Drucker.
He competes head-to-head with professional photographers, often for portrait and party (mainly Bar and Bat Mitzvah) gigs. Drucker never let his youth or his amateur training discourage him from pursuing jobs. “For someone of my age at the time, establishing yourself in a big industry like that can be next to impossible. I was lucky enough to have a niche available and was able to position myself to succeed within that niche.”
His second full-time business, XtremeFit U, is his latest project. It is a free online resource that helps people practice better diet and exercise habits. Using “Beachbody,” an online fitness community that has over 2 million members, users can request Drucker and his XtremeFit U team to be their virtual personal trainers. As a “Coach,” Drucker provides wall-to-wall exercise information and advice for customers. Despite being only a few months old, according to Drucker, XtremeFit U is “evolving and growing quickly.”
Drucker has been able to launch his two local businesses completely independently of CHS, using skills from “studying the work of people who inspire [him].” He explained, “If you have enough ambition, CHS simply can’t offer you enough to satisfy that ambition.” He does not see the limitations of what CHS has to offer as a bad thing—rather, he sees making moves beyond CHS as an important part of succeeding in high school in general. “It’s no different than athletes who train outside of school. If you want to succeed, you can’t expect the school to provide for you individually,” said Drucker.
He still considers his businesses as a part of the CHS community. “If you start a group outside of school and it’s mostly composed of your friends from CHS, that to me is just as much a part of the school as a school-sponsored club,” said Drucker. Ben Donald, ’11, and Jordan Cohen, ’11, have helped Drucker with XtremeFit U, putting the company both online and in the halls of CHS.
Ben Drucker Photography and XtremeFit U will not be in the halls of CHS for long, however. Drucker plans on attending Johns Hopkins University next fall. “It will take some time, but I hope to establish Ben Drucker Photography in both Baltimore and New Jersey,” said Drucker. “Managing a business takes a lot of hard work, but it’s the work that I’m passionate about doing.”