SMITHVILLE – Regan Dunn understands that life is not a sprint, but rather a search for long-term balance. After all, his high school sports proved that sometimes it takes a little while for good things to happen.
In the fall, Dunn played soccer and ran across the country. In the spring, he was on the track team.
“My goal for my senior year was to be present in the moment,” he explained. “My parents encouraged me to always be a hard worker in everything I do. The result is that I try to give my all.
Another teacher is Tamarin Stark, the Spanish teacher. Dunn said she was a teacher who strived for excellence while making Spanish lessons fun.
“It’s been great getting to know Regan over the past few years. He’s a quick learner and a thinker. He can come up with solutions quickly and is very decisive. Along the same lines, I tend seeing students make quick decisions without thinking about the consequences, and while Regan is pretty quick, he does think through a few steps to make sure a wise choice is made,” Stark said.
The Smithville native grew up in Smithville Parks & Rec programs including football where he met his best friends as a kid. He is a member of the local Jeep club as well as a mountain bike club, in addition he has been a tutor. The family loves Sporting KC and travelling.
“My parents Jason and Cindi Dunn are also my role models,” he said. “They push me to be the best, support me and remind me that if I don’t have a great race, it’s not the end of the world.”
Last year, the 4×800 relay team came to the state, what Dunn calls a highlight of his high school career, with the winning districts of his freshman year.
Dunn was the regional recipient of the John T. Belcher Memorial Scholarship. He was also valedictorian of his promotion. He earned advanced level courses and dual credit courses in chemistry, biology, physics, calculus and psychology.
“I have 11 AP classes and 10 dual credit courses,” he said. “I was actually named an AP Fellow with Distinction.”
This distinction is awarded to students who achieve an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and a score of 3 or more on five or more of these exams. AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5.
Dunn wants to go to medical school and eventually become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
“Ten years ago my dad had a heart attack,” Dunn said. “It had a profound impact on me. I started looking to the doctors who helped him. I want to give that help back to other families. I want to be able to help people.”
As Dunn’s father recovered, the family made changes to his healthier lifestyle, including running.
To that end, Dunn learned in early May that he had been accepted into the six-year BA/MD program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Running has earned him many honors, including second-team all-conference cross-country and first-team all-conference. He also won all-district first-team soccer after last fall season.
At Smithville High School, Dunn found support from several teachers and coaches.
“I first met Regan through his older brother Gavin, who was a track and field athlete. When Regan started high school, he joined the cross country team in the fall of 2018. Through my role as a cross-country and track coach, I got to witness his self-discipline, competitive spirit and all-around character,” said head trainer Alex Moore. Moreover, Regan is an excellent student. He managed his academic load with maturity in addition to being a dual-sport athlete during all four years of high school, dividing his time between college football and cross country. Regan is a young a strong and confident man, his concern for others and his commitment to working towards a goal set him apart from his peers.
Shawn Logan is a math teacher that Dunn likes because he expects the best from his students.
“Regan has a real aptitude for developing a deep understanding of the difficult material of AP computation easily and independently. But when Regan struggles with a concept or problem in my class, he perseveres through those challenges. Regan is very coachable in class. As a result, his classes have always gone above and beyond what is required for superb work,” Logan said.
When it comes to advice for incoming freshmen, he encourages students to be diverse.
“Go and do something. Get involved,” he said. “I live fully every day. Running, like life, is a chance to enjoy the beauty of where I am. Nothing beats a good sunset or sunrise.