ARLINGTON — Edward Radion went from self-described apathy his freshman year at Arlington High School to a polished young businessman who’s already at work building a portfolio.
Question: You’re involved with tennis, DECA, National Honor Society, Key Club, student leadership, FBLA, Knowledge Bowl…
Answer: I’m involved in a lot. … I did the math the other day, and I have over 270 service hours.
Q: Your biggest role is as Area 1 president for DECA, with regional and state responsibilities. What drew you to DECA?
A: In high school you typically don’t get an idea of what the business world is like. (With DECA) you get to see something you don’t get in the classroom.
Q: You also started an investment club at AHS with like-minded “nerds.”
A: It’s to inspire people to look at the benefits of investing — where it’s not just gambling. It’s to set goals long-term and then fulfill them. You invest earlier, and you’re going to make a lot more because of compound interest.
Q: What drew you to business?
A: I’m a realist and a pragmatist. Business is learning how the world functions. One of my favorite things to do is solve challenges. Finance is a lot of problem-solving. … Right now Wall Street is not getting any better of a rap with Wells Fargo. Some integrity is important, especially for such an important function of the economy.
Q: You’re a student representative on the Arlington School Board. Has that taught you anything?
A: Learning that degree of professionalism and talk on the level of adults has been valuable and something you don’t normally get as a student.
Q: You have a full load at AHS that includes four Advanced Placement courses, plus you take three online courses through Everett Community College.
A: First period is at home and learning econ from my room. It’s pretty cool.
Q: How do you manage everything?
A: If you’ve been doing it a lot, it becomes second nature. I don’t really watch TV.
Q: You say you weren’t always like this, that you took things pretty easy freshman year.
A: For the life I wanted, I was on track. I changed a lot.
Q: You say the shift came after you joined DECA and, on a fluke, ended up in a financial planning competition.
A: Something just clicked. … “Whoa, DECA is great. Finance is cool.” That, combined with my brother, Dan, who said, “You know, you could do so much more.”
Q: You’re the youngest of eight children. Your other siblings were all born in Ukraine. Dan is your nearest sibling, and you say his own success going to college and working for Google inspires you.
A: You’re only as good as the expectations you set for yourself. … Just seeing him pursue what he loved, that’s the biggest thing.
Q: So what’s next?
A: I’ve applied to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for business. If I get accepted, I’ll be screaming for joy for weeks on end. Waiting is the worst part.
Q: What advice would you give a high school freshman?
A: Being involved is cool and rewarding. It’s the things you do outside class that make you excited to learn what’s in class. Live beyond your comfort zone.
Q: How does it feel to be a senior?
A: One of my weaknesses and strengths is that I live years ahead. The downside is it’s hard for me to live in the moment. … (But) I feel prepared for whatever’s ahead, and so excited to move on.
Melissa Slager: email@example.com; 425-339-3432.