Kaitlin Dawson has been described as an extraordinary young woman who has demonstrated a talent for art and an interest in volunteer service. She has overcome tremendous personal challenges to not only graduate on time but also accomplish success.
She started off her freshman year at the top of her class but an accident in a physical education class in the spring led to a traumatic brain injury. For six months, Dawson could not leave her home, having to spend most of her time in the dark in order for her brain to recover.
As a result of the trauma, Dawson struggled with health consequences such as memory issues and lack of focus, which was impacting her academics. She also struggled emotionally as she had to give up activities such as lacrosse and tennis.
“My identity was deeply rooted in my activities and my grades,” she said.
Dawson recovered her credits by taking extra classes, and she immersed herself in other interests, such as art and Tacoma Youth Chorus. She credits her faith in God with being able to stay strong throughout.
“I’ve been able to overcome what I’d gone through and have stayed positive and happy,” she said.
“Instead of spending time in concerns, I spent it on choir and art, and solidified my passion for arts and fashion.”
One of her many extracurricular commitments has been the school’s Destination Imagination team, which won state competitions and competed globally.
“It involves everything I love. I love being creative and using critical problem solving,” she said. “I also like acting and performing, and it combines all of that.”
As part of the Tacoma Youth Chorus, Dawson has performed around Europe. She is also a talented nature photographer who has been selling her art at craft fairs.
“She is an inspiration to others, is self-motivated and can be relied upon to get a job done,” said English teacher Karen Floyd. “She is goal-driven and willing to persevere that for which she aspires.”
Fashion has been one of Dawson’s interests and she has job-shadowed at two fashion companies, learning both the business and the creative sides. That experience confirmed her desire to pursue fashion as a career.
Dawson plans to study visual arts, with an emphasis on photography, at Pacific Lutheran University. She then hopes to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California.