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Gardens valedictorian unsure of career path, but wants to help people


MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Jason Dee, 17

When his high school graduation is over, this Palm Beach Gardens High School valedictorian isn’t planning on taking it easy for the summer before heading to college in the fall.

Jason Dee has decided to attack his college years just as he did his time in high school – with eagerness and determination. So determined, in fact, that he is heading to the University of Florida to start classes in June.

“It’s not necessary to take a long break,” said Dee, 17. “I’m excited to go.”

Dee lives in Palm Beach Gardens with his parents, George and Jenny Dee, and his sister, Lauren, 14, who also attends Palm Beach Gardens high. Lauren is following in her brother’s footsteps by taking over a club that her brother started from scratch a couple of years ago. Members make leather bracelets, and the proceeds from the bracelets helps cancer patients pay for living expenses.

Dee created the club because he wanted to make a difference in his community.

“The summer before my sophomore year, I shadowed my aunt who is an oncologist, and I saw a lot of cancer patients, and they had a lot of problems,” he said. “I was surprised how many other problems can arise from cancer. The treatment is expensive. There were some patients who had kids, and I know it must’ve been hard for the kids to have to go through that as well.”

Dee is no longer part of the club because he’s wrapping up his high school career, but his sister has graciously taken the lead.

Dee is also in the Palm Beach Gardens High honor society clubs, and he’s part of the Palm Beach Gardens Green Team, where members collect litter on neighborhood streets once a month. He’s also proud to be a volunteer at Ignatius Food Pantry. He doesn’t spend his time volunteering because he needs the community hours for graduation. He’s surpassed that, he said.

Dee does it, he said, because he simply likes to help people.

He also likes to be ahead of the curve.

Dee has not only been working on his high school diploma the last four years, but he’s also had a goal of receiving an associate’s degree by the time he goes to college. He plans to receive the degree from Palm Beach State College soon after he graduates.

Becoming valedictorian of his class wasn’t really on his radar, he said, because he was so focused on earning his A.A. degree. But when he found out he was in the running, there was no question that he wanted to secure the spot. And, fortunately, for Dee, he did.

He will graduate with an unweighted grade point average of 3.97.

He isn’t sure what career he wants to tap into, but he knows he wants it to revolve around medicine by majoring in chemistry.

“It’s really interesting to me how medicine relates to everything that we deal with in daily life,” Dee said. “And medicine also involves with helping people.”

Dee admits that he’ll miss high school. He likes the social events and his friends, but he’s ready to venture out of his comfort zone and explore the college world where opportunities are endless.

And Dee will likely take advantage of each and every one.



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