PALM BEACH, FL -- It seems fitting that Daniel Eggertsson chose a college named for that founding father who was famous for frugality, temperance and intellectual curiosity.
Eggertsson, who said one of the most important lessons he learned from his parents was how to have balance, graduated from Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach three years ago and headed to Lancaster, Pa, the home of tiny Franklin and Marshall College, named for Benjamin Franklin and former Chief Justice John Marshall.
Eggertsson, who grew up in The Acreage, chose the school because it reminded him of Suncoast, in both size -- it has under 2,000 students -- and in academic philosophy.
Franklin and Marshall College was founded more than 200 years ago and is a liberal arts school that encourages critical thinking, recognizes the importance of curiosity and requires its students to seek out the tough answers, much like the principles behind the international baccalaureate program Eggertsson was enrolled in at Suncoast.
The historic college turned out to be a good fit for Eggertsson, who recently was named the recipient of the Rev. Arthur Barley Award which is given out each year to the student who makes the most progress in religious studies. Eggertsson's name also appears on the honors list for students with a 3.7 GPA or higher, and on the roster for the football and golf teams at the school.
There's that balance again.
"You can't do all school work or all sports. You've got to have balance," said Eggertsson, who is spending the summer in The Acreage with his parents, Guy and Patricia.
When he was growing up, Eggertsson, who attended Loxahatchee Groves and Acreage Pines elementary schools and Roosevelt Middle School, played a variety of sports, including basketball, soccer, baseball and football. At Suncoast, he played soccer, football and golf, and still managed to keep a 3.5 GPA.
"I had a social life, too," he said. "You need to be able to balance your time. Don't get stressed out."
At Franklin and Marshall, Eggertsson is the kicker and punter for the school football team, the Diplomats. They compete in the Centennial Conference and play colleges such as Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The college golf team is better than the football team, he said, adding that joining the sports teams helped him to get acclimated to college life more quickly.
Eggertsson is pretty humble about receiving the Barley Award, saying that he doesn't really know why he was chosen. But he does know why he chose to major in religious studies. "Out of curiosity," he said.
He's not in the religious studies program in preparation for a career in the ministry. In fact, he has studied all the world's religions during his first three years of college, including Christianity, Hindu and Islam. He hopes to enter law school at the University of Florida in Gainesville after he receives his bachelor's degree.
He said there's a link between the two fields that many people may not be aware of.
"There are similarities between law and religion. You analyze documents pretty much the same way you do with law," he said.
Eggertsson's plan to return to Florida reflects his growing impatience with the Pennsylvania weather, he said.
"There's snow from November to April. It's nice when it comes down and that's about it."