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.
What are your hobbies?
I love playing basketball and going out with my friends. I also enjoy playing the piano.
What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
I would have some fun and mess around with my friends and sister.
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?
It would be with Benjamin Franklin. I would be so honored to meet and talk to an inventor, writer, scientist and politician who accomplished many great things in his life.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Put yourself in the other person’s shoes” if you are struggling to make a decision involving ethics.
What event in history would you have liked to have witnessed?
The day that the United States of America was granted independence from Great Britain.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Dog sledding and snowmobiling on the mountains with my family in Vancouver, Canada.
Who is your hero, someone who inspires you?
Without a doubt, my lifetime hero is my mom. She has always worked hard to provide for me and to push me to excel in anything that I do. She has given me the confidence I need to pursue all my goals.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
This year, I am graduating high school with my A.A. degree.
What three things would you bring with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
Water, a matchbox for cooking and signal fires and a knife to cut things and to hunt.