Even before the Anchorage School District kicks off another school year on Aug. 20, some students have already gotten to work.
Just like his fellow runners on the West High Cross Country team, Parker Pickett is amped to get back to activities inside and outside the classroom.
"I'll get to see the friends that I haven't had a chance to hang out with this summer, I'll get to see them again and see what they did this summer," said Pickett, soon to be a Stellar Secondary freshman.
Through the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, Pickett already has college math and English credits under his belt.
"I'm working towards being an engineer," he said. "I haven't decided on which one yet, but I've looked at civil engineering, mechanical engineering."
He also spent two weeks working with children in Nicaragua, and by doing some dancing and singing tried to inspire others to pursue higher education.
"They seemed to enjoy learning English, like if there was a word they didn't know they would be like teacher, teacher, how do you say this in English," Pickett said. "I can see why teachers get sometimes a little frustrated with kids because it's very tiring teaching."
That experience inspired Pickett to act differently in class: "I'm going to pay better attention," he said.
His motivation shows through wherever he goes, whether doing yoyo tricks on Flattop or dominating the Rubik's Cube.