Hawaii teen plans to follow in Obama's footsteps

Chris Ballesteros
Chris Ballesteros

By Cindy Cha - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Senator Barack Obama has many supporters here in the Aloha State, but none more so than a young man who's headed for Harvard later this month.

He's only 17 years old but Chris Ballesteros' resume, reads like one of a future leader. He says he wants to follow in Obama's footsteps, and run for president, some day.

Chris Ballesteros proudly shows off his trophy collection from his speech and debate competitions.

"The big ones, the taller ones, they're the State Championship trophies which I have six, I believe."

The former Damien Memorial School student and debate champ is not shy about what he wants to be when he grows up, president of the United States. And he looks up to one man, who he says, is an inspiration.

"His path through politics especially his rise as a senator and now as a presidential candidate is the same path that I would like to some day follow."

That path has been his long running ambition.

"When I was four or five, my parents hung a bunch of posters in my room, one was the poster of the presidents and in a few months, I had memorized every single one of the individuals on that chart and I decided that I would, at some point, like to be on that list of presidents."

Right away principal Mike Weaver remembers Chris as a unique individual.

"He knew the importance of high school, he knew most things that most 9th graders would have to learn, he was ahead of the curve."

As this native son goes off to Harvard to pursue his dreams, his years at Damien will be remembered.

"Years from now, we're going to point to him as one of our success stories," said Weaver.

Once he gets to Harvard, Chris says he will run for a spot on the undergraduate council and join the debate team. Then he plans to pursue law school.