Former Emerson K-12 senior Adam Doolittle recently attended his graduation ceremony along with his family on June 13.
With a 4.0 cumulative GPA, Doolittle was the sole valedictorian for his 2018 class.
During the ceremony, Doolittle gave a speech regarding his academic accomplishment, reflecting on his time at Emerson K-12 and the growth he experienced as a student.
“It meant a lot to me,” he said about being valedictorian. “I worked to get that 4.0 for four years and to have it pay off at the end was very satisfying.”
Doolittle had attended Emerson K-12 since fourth grade and the Kirkland school has played a major role in his growth. He said his interest in learning lies in his passion for computer science and video game design — a hobby he picked up on at an early age because of his father’s job working for the XBOX team at Microsoft.
When he was younger, Doolittle remembers occasionally going to work with his father, where he experienced video game technology within the industry firsthand. Doolittle said that his fascination for computer science and video game design became rooted because of experiences like this growing up.
“Seeing everything there and being in that type of environment…that really inspired me,” he said.
Doolittle’s growing interest in video game technology got him involved in DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond.
As a freshman and sophomore, he participated in ProjectFUN, a program offered on DigiPen’s campus for students. Through the program, Doolittle enrolled in two courses offered on campus at DigiPen. He attended the classes every Thursday, year around. He said the courses were focused on computer science and video game design.
During his last two years at Emerson K-12, Doolittle participated in the Washington Network for Innovative Careers (WANIC), a cooperative program and skills center that provides advanced-level career courses for students who are looking to get a head start on their higher education.
DigiPen offered WANIC on its campus and the program gave Doolittle a head start on his college career while he worked toward his high school diploma.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of that,” Doolittle said about WANIC. “I’ve wanted to make games for my entire life.”
In addition to his academic success, Doolittle also has an anxiety disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is a learning disability. Doolittle said that these disorders have caused him to struggle with certain aspects of a typical learning environment.
“It can be really hard to focus sometimes and understand what’s going on,” he said. “The overall amount of work my last two years of high school…It was really tough to keep up with everything.”
For Doolittle, learning how to cope with these disorders has helped make him the person he is today.
“It’s taught me how to be able to overcome challenges that I might face during the course of my life,” he said.
Doolittle plans on attending DigiPen in the fall and is looking forward to furthering his higher education within the school’s computer science and game design program. Doolittle said he hopes to at least graduate with a bachelor’s in science within DigiPen’s computer science and game design program.
“My dream is to have my own game development studio one day,” Doolittle said. “That’s always been my end goal.”