Laurel Ridge student has physical therapy, Army and professional sports in his sights


Laurel Ridge student Ben Sylvia dreams of becoming a physical therapist and ultimately working with professional athletes.

He moved to Page County 1½ years ago after deciding he wanted to go back to school and be close to his family who had already made the move.

Sylvia had worked as a police officer in Colorado for about two years, and had also taken some classes at Colorado State University.

Here in Virginia, his younger brother Joseph was attending Laurel Ridge. Joseph Sylvia graduated in 2019 and transferred to Virginia Wesleyan University.

“We both have had good experiences at Lord Fairfax,” Sylvia says.

He counts his English and science instructors among his favorites.

“I like Judith Suddith (his English instructor, as well as the manager of the Luray-Page County Center) a lot,” Sylvia says. “And, biology instructor Patricia Fox is a great teacher. I definitely enjoyed having her. I’ll be taking an anatomy course with her this semester.”

In addition to being a full-time student, Sylvia works as a personal trainer. He has been interning at ApexNetwork Physical Therapy after his time there as a patient.

After he graduates from Laurel Ridge in May, Sylvia will transfer to Shenandoah University to major in exercise science and enroll in the physical therapy track. He hopes to earn his master’s degree in athletic training and doctorate in physical therapy.

Then, Sylvia plans to enlist in the U.S. Army to help rehabilitate injured soldiers.

“From there, I want to go to work for either the National Football League or the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” he says.

These are big goals and Laurel Ridge has provided him the foundation from which to pursue them.

“If you’re trying to get started and need to save money while working, I definitely think Laurel Ridge is an excellent choice,” Sylvia says.