Senior Spotlight: Dawson Horah

What is a story, happy or otherwise, that you remember that you feel made you into the person you are today?

“That’s a great question and like the best questions don’t have answers, so I don’t really have an answer for that. I’d love to think on it, though.”


Do you value your successes or failures more? Why?

“Um, well it depends on whether I’m evaluating progress or areas in which I need to improve. Successes and failures are very valuable because without failure, you can’t measure success. I find myself frequently, in the course of my life, caring too much about about my failures and putting too much emphasis on trying to avoid that — this hits me especially hard in areas where I was entirely a novice. Like, when I came to high school I was still wrestling, which is what I did all through middle school, so I got to high school wrestling and I was not good at it at all, to put it concisely, and um… it was a failure. Mr. McDurmon told me something that was very valuable to how I approach life in general. It’s “don’t go in doing your best not to lose, go in doing your best to win,” and I realized that year that’s what I had been doing for wrestling, and that’s how I had been treating my studies, any tests, any interpersonal interactions or relationships, I had been very cautious of doing my best not to lose and not to fail. So,  failures are valuable, but it’s not healthy to focus on failures.”



Is there something that you feel you were meant to do or be?

“Um….personally, I don’t know yet. If I just had to guess, I feel called and compelled to serve others and use, I guess, my apparent gifts for the betterment of other people who may have fallen flat in this world and have no chance of progressing otherwise, like the people around Floyd County, who we serve weekly with our Servant Leadership Team. Beyond that, I don’t know specifically what I feel called to do, but I know that I’m compelled to serve people and to help this world, this society, the United States of America progress as a whole and become both more loving and more understanding, as a whole.”


If you could watch everything that happened in your life until now, would you enjoy it?



What drives you to do better at something?

“Haha, more often than not it’s really..well, I have a fierce sense of competition and I know that’s not really healthy, but so far it really hasn’t hurt me too much, I don’t think, at least personally. A good bit of it is the competition, like in terms of success and beating other people, which isn’t something I would advise people to focus on, but that’s been one of the larger motivations, the other motivators…well, to do better at something, it’s mostly competition. Um, but then again there’s a little bit of, I guess, investment in myself in that. I definitely want to be educated, well-rounded, well-spoken, bilingual, etc., but more often than not, it is competition, which isn’t really good for most people.    


What do you want most out of life?

“Hmm… well I certainly want to keep breathing every day, that’s important. Out of life as a whole, I want…I want the people around me to be happy, and not necessarily happy because of me, but I would like to see everyone around me happy. I’d like to see all the people around me achieve whatever they want to, be successful,  feel loved. I don’t want to be remembered for something, but I do want to at least have a positive influence on the people around me who have the potential to be sad and depressed, or discontent, and give them the opportunity to experience happiness, joy, love, whatever you might call it, even though I singularly cannot do that for people, I would hope that I end up being productive to that end. I hope that I can make people feel better.”


What would happen if you never wasted another minute of your life, what would that look like? Well, this question probably doesn’t apply to you, but you can answer anyways.

“No, honestly, when I get home I get a snack, I check Instagram, I play with my dog, I usually get on youtube, I usually don’t start homework until like 8 or 9, so I don’t put every minute of my life to good use, like I probably should.”


What would your life look like if you did?

“Insane. I would not be happy about that, but then again, I would because I’d be doing better at some things. I have like five or six things to manage this year, and everyday I realize I should be writing up the experiments for the servant leadership STEM Outreach, I should be working on a senior project, I should be coming up with things for the science club, I should be working on my senior speech, I should be working on things to help the Gender Equality Club…and I do none of those when I get home. So, procrastination definitely plays a role in my life, not to the extent that would be entirely detrimental, ‘cause I mean it’s nice to relax, but right now I feel like I’m doing the bare minimum in so far as, I’m doing my schoolwork, for sure, but not too much outside of that. So, I would love to put every minute of my day to good use.”


How much control do you really have over yourself?



What have you given up on?

“I’ve given up on learning to play the piano, the fancy technical way. I mean, I can play “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, but that’s about it.”


Who are you really? Describe yourself without using your name, or any attributes given to you by society and really think. Deep down, who are you?

“Um…to that I would say, if we wanted to approach that in a scientific kind of way, I’d like to think I’m, well I behave as a black hole of sorts, for knowledge. And mostly I say that for lack of a better thing to say without using society’s attributes, like I can’t say “Hi, I’m six feet tall, I have red hair, or something like that, blue eyes… so I mean, we’ll go with that. As objectively as I can say this, I love to learn, I love to play music, no matter the instrument that I’m playing, I love helping people, I love making people smile, I love looking at things and finding ways to analyze them and group and categorize things, and that’s not always good when it comes to people, you’ll find some issues there, personally and interpersonally, but that’s like… it’s hard to like group someone and then treat them still as like an individual person, so that’s definitely something I should avoid, or try to.


Describe a time in your life where you felt pushed to your farthest physical, mental, and/or emotional boundary.

“Well, physically, I haven’t been pushed to too many boundaries since I stopped really engaging in sports, but it was wrestling my eighth grade year when I really tried hard; there were five times when I was being held, almost on my back, about to be pinned, but I only lost twice that entire year. There were five times, and I don’t know, I just fought my way out of it, and that was at least the last time I was physically pushed to my limits. I gave up once, and didn’t do it ever again. The other four times, or so, that I was about to be pinned, or whatever, I didn’t give up. Mentally and emotionally…I can’t think of an emotional boundary; I’m pretty steady all the time, um. mentally, Mrs. Wilson’s class. Mrs. Wilson pushed me to my mental boundaries because it was different from the classes I’d taken before, that were mostly fact-based. Um, as good a teachers Mr. Schmidt and Mrs. Dodd are, their classes didn’t push me to mental boundaries, they just pushed me to learn in a new way and it was still comfortable to me. Mrs. Wilson’s class, I mean, she specifically had a way of teaching and phrasing that made me question what I believed, what I thought, what I thought was the right way to think things. So, it changed my mental paradigm of sorts, to say something Mr. Schmidt loves to say, um, that’s really the last time I was pushed to a mental boundary. Any time you’re forced to reconsider how and why you think, I mean, that’s a mental boundary pushed right there.”


What are you holding onto that you feel you need to let go of?

“I mean there are always bodily function jokes there. Um, hmm, what am I holding onto that I need to let go of? I’m not really holding onto too many things that I need to let go of, actually I don’t think I’m holding onto anything that I need to let go off. Um, something that I was holding onto recently that I did let go of, I guess was my very strong commitment to, I guess how you would describe the Republican Party and social conservatism. When I stepped back, it was mostly in Mrs. Wilson’s class when I was forced to reconsider how and why I think, I realized that there are some things in life that do change and there are things that…society changes, people change, and I had a very personal instance with someone who made me change the way I view both…most of the social issues of the day, like gay marriage, abortion, things like that, that I’ve been forced to reconsider and I think I’m better off because of it and a lot of people need to do the same thing, in my opinion, even if they’re going to end up thinking the same thing as before. Initially, I was opposed to the things I mentioned earlier, and many people at this school are also, and even if they do reconsider and they still find themselves opposed, they need to think through why. I think thinking is always a valuable asset and everyone here has the capacity to think and analyze why they think what they do about different social, political, or economic issues in the United States of America. What was the question again? I feel like I’ve rambled on for too long.”


The question was: what are you holding onto that you feel you need to let go of?

“Oh yeah, well, for the longest time, I held onto what my parents had told me, what I had been exposed to at Woodland Middle School, and the schools of Bartow County, and they are public schools where there wasn’t as much of, I guess, and intellectual community as there is here at Darlington. Um, so, people basically chose their views and violently stuck with them. I remember, in fifth grade, I came to school with some very inflammatory remarks about the 2008 election, and actually someone who turned out to be one of my best friends through middle school, Raekwon Hicks, um, he was about to punch me in the face when I said something bad about Obama. So, yeah, you really shouldn’t offend people. People shouldn’t get offended, but then again, you shouldn’t seek out to offend people, it’s NEVER a good idea, and even though I didn’t, offending people is never the way to get people to listen to you.”