An alumnus from 2012, the origins of Army Olsen's story trace back to the family home.
Seattle Farm, founded by his family five generations ago, is tucked away in southeast Seattle. The farm hosts events, boards horses, has dozens of goats, and a friendly cow.
An alumnus from 2012, the origins of Army Olsen’s story trace back to the family home. Seattle Farm, founded by his family five generations ago, is tucked away in Southeast Seattle. The farm hosts events, boards horses, has dozens of goats, and a friendly cow.
Each October, the farm holds a special one-day event where prized pumpkins, grown by Army himself, are sold and families are invited to explore the farm. Of the resident animals, his childhood horse, Sparky, is still Army’s favorite. More than just the family farm, Army has a deep history of learning from the past and from other cultures, while also embracing new technology.
ON HIS IMAGINATION:
When Army first came to Hamlin Robinson School, he was described by his former teachers Ms. Nelson and Ms. Massoth as full of imagination and personality, shining bright and bursting with new ideas. This description would be no surprise to Army’s family. As a child, the Wild West and American history fascinated Army and he frequently arrived at school dressed as a cowboy. His interest grew because of his access to horseback riding, even taking the horses for pack trips on the Pacific Crest Trail and out for urban trail rides.
ON HIS LEARNING EVOLUTION:
Unknown to many, Army’s first language was Spanish, and he only began speaking English at age 3. His mother loved traveling and foreign language, and promoted a diverse, worldly approach to learning. With a family devoted to travel and cultural appreciation, it was stunning for Army and his family to realize the school he most needed was just a few miles away from his own home - one of the only schools devoted to dyslexic students in the country at the time.
ON HOW TECHNOLOGY CHANGED HIS LIFE:
As a student who always struggled with reading, HRS was an incredible lifeline for Army. Being in an environment with teachers who understood his struggles and supported his learning style was priceless. Army has never forgotten tips and tricks he learned as a student, including punctuation. He now remembers, whenever there is a pause in a sentence, there should be a comma.
When Army partnered his newfound skills and the self-advocacy learned at HRS with new technology, he began excelling.
While his reading ability has advanced by leaps and bounds, it’s still something he has to work on. Assistive tools like speech to text and text to speech have been immensely helpful in making sure what he is trying to communicate is what actually comes out in written form. Sometimes without it, when he looks back at what he wrote, the letters are jumbled, making it difficult to decipher.
During Army’s time as a student at the University of Washington, the disability resources for students (DRS) helped organize accommodations for Army in his classes, the most helpful of which was providing text books in audio format. He finished his degree at UW with a double major in business administration and real estate. Inside of his business degree, he double focused in finance and entrepreneurship. To top it off, Army received a professional sales certificate and graduated cum laude from each program.
Now, as he steps out of college and into his career, he’s confident in his abilities and is focused on his future, starting his career as a real estate broker and developer at Paragon Real Estate Advisors.
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