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TEC student lives without limits

TEC at Bryant senior Aaron Dahl grew up in a home school tradition studies martial arts. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
TEC at Bryant senior Aaron Dahl grew up in a home school tradition studies martial arts. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A certain stereotype of home-schooled students chalks them up as limited in their world experiences.

But TEC at Bryant senior and Eastern Washington University Running Start student Aaron Dahl blows up that perception.

“There’s a stigma with home-schoolers that they’re socially awkward or sheltered,” said Dahl. “But my mom took us out into the world, and I feel like my brother and I have gotten more flexibility with real-world experiences.”

The 18-year-old has fond memories of going to the Fresno Chaffe Zoo in the middle of days otherwise filled with standard curriculum taught by his mother, Michelle Dahl. She aimed at broadening their horizons beyond school, through street smarts.

Dahl said that he has never felt isolated as a home-schooler, and added that he has learned a lot about fairness and cohesion in a family-based lifestyle alongside his younger brother and sister. It has helped form friendships beyond a single class of peers, he said.

“It prepared me for a more cohesive and relevant integration into the world,” Dahl said.

Dahl is heavily involved in martial arts and is a first-degree black belt, experienced in karate, kempo, jiujitsu and muay thai kickboxing. He has attended Lotus Martial Arts Academy for more than a year and likely will start instructing soon.

“He’s actively involved,” said Roy Harrington, Dahl’s instructor at the Lotus Academy and part-time extracurricular instructor at TEC. “We have a program called Marimba band. He was involved in that fully. He’s committed to his grades, the Running Start program, and my program.”

Harrington said he is proud of the qualities that Dahl lives out, including dedication, determination and focus, and that he deserves his success.

“He’s the kind of student you’d want to clone. He’s polite, respectful, and an outstanding citizen,” Harrington said.

In his free time, Dahl enjoys longboarding, playing guitar and listening to classic rock.

In terms of professional goals, Dahl wants to pursue neuroscience.

“I want to research the brain and how the neuroscience and psychology connect and affect the person,” said Dahl, whose interest was influenced by his late grandmother’s psychological deterioration caused by a brain tumor. “If I put a lifetime into researching, understanding, finding out new things about the brain, I think I could really help people. And that’s really what I want to do in life.”

His other-centered approach aims at making a broad-scale difference in the field.

“It seems like it’d be a fulfilling lifetime goal,” Dahl said. “It’s also practical enough that there’s a need for it in society, and I would have fulfillment in a place to better the world.”

A 4.0 student, Dahl finishes high school with two years of college credits from his time spent in Running Start at Eastern, where he will continue school in the fall in pursuit of a pre-med degree.


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