That’s how Aaron Dickason II describes himself as a youngster.
It’s hard to envision that now when looking at the lean, muscular track star taking another hurdle with a determined look on his face.
He’s taking that drive and determination to Michigan State University this fall, where the hurdler and sprinter has earned an athletic scholarship for track and field. He plans to major in computer science.
He started running in sixth grade, inspired by his father Aaron Dickason Sr., who ran track for what is now University of Detroit, Mercy.
“I definitely wanted to continue the legacy. My dad ran in college, and he was always telling me stories about how he ran track,” Aaron said. “I was chubby but athletic and decided to go out and run with the track team. I made it to the Junior Olympics.
“The AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) meets were definitely super exciting. It was all of the top kids in the state. It was just really competitive. I wasn’t doing hurdles in sixth grade, but I ran the 100 and all of the kids were taller than me, but I still made the Top 8 in the Junior Olympics.”
He excelled in track throughout middle school, especially when he began running hurdles, but when it came time to make the transition to high school, sports and socializing took a toll on his grades.
“There were just a lot more kids and a lot more distractions,” he said. “I had to flip a switch. My mom and dad, Keshia and Aaron Dickason motivated me, but it had to really come down to me being motivated. I wasn’t about the low grades. The summer after my freshman year, I thought about my future and where I wanted to be. The low grades weren’t going to cut it.”
Dickason, who also played basketball for four years at KC and is a member of the Grand Rapids Fire Track Club, built a reputation as much more than an athlete. At Central, he impressed the administration with his maturity and social involvement.
He was a member of the National Honor Society, captain of the track and field team, and served on the executive boards for both Jack and Jill of America and the Alpha Esquires of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He was the 2020 winner of the Dr. Charles C. Warfield Youth Social Justice Award from the City of Kalamazoo.
“Aaron Dickason is an outstanding young man who personifies the word ‘impact’,” said Assistant Principal Ajamian Gardner. “Aaron is a leader in every area of his life; inside and outside of the classroom and on the athletic field.”