Milestones ahead: Will graduate from high school in June. That is also when his treatment for leukemia ends after several years battling the often-fatal disease. Has spent much of his high school time at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. Was gravely ill, but medical advances in past 15 years likely saved him. “I’m doing good, but they don’t know what the long-term effects are.”
Strong-willed: “I’ll smile but I don’t break down and get sad over things. I have been at a point in my life where if I broke down, I would have died. You have to be strong-willed in order to go through all of this.”
Highlights: Visits to his grandparents home after chemotherapy treatments. Both are retired teachers, and they inspired him.
Future plans: Has been accepted to Western Washington University and hopes to become a high school math teacher. Believes teachers play important roles helping young people discover what they want to do with their lives.
Secret to math: Knows many people are afraid of math. His advice: “It’s something you have to follow the rules. If you don’t follow the rules you never come up with the right answers. Some people want to change the rules a little bit, but with math, you can’t do that.”
Small is good: Likes the small school atmosphere at Weston, where he was student body vice president last year and president this year. “I prefer the small school just because it’s easier to know people. Instead of getting to know just the kids in your class, here you can’t help getting to know everybody. There is really no other place to go, so we all interact together.”
Helping hand: Tutors students three afternoons a week at Arlington High School. Weston Principal Maurene Stanton jokes: “I’m going to release him for four years and then he has to come back here with his teaching degree.”
Favorite book: “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich.
Initial wonders: First impression of Weston was that it’s a doublewide mobile home. “When I first came here, we always joked that some truck was going to come to the front of the building and take it away.”
Effects of leukemia: “I’m a better person. Before I went through this, I was just skating through and now I have direction. … I have become more interested in more important things like politics and the economy. The economy scares the beejeebers out of me.”
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Elizabeth Armstrong / The Herald
Jason Larson, 18, has been accepted to Western Washington University and hopes to become a high school math teacher after college.