Student of the Week: Dom Burkhart


Fia Cooper

Junior Dom Burkhart says that he is really fortunate to go to La Salle, “a lot of people don’t have access to an education like the one I get, and I think it’s super important to remember that and take advantage of what I am given.”

Paige Baines, Assistant Editor

Junior Dom Burkhart may be taking five AP and honors classes, but that doesn’t stop him from getting outside. 

Burkhart grew up being active in nature with his family. No matter if it’s mountain biking with his dad, skiing with friends, or going for a hike, he never seems to stop being engaged in nature.

“I like being in nature and the outdoors because it’s not crowded,” he said. “You’re out in the open, there’s not huge crowds of people around you, and it’s always nice to get some fresh air.”

Almost every year, Burkhart goes on a rafting trip with his family in either Oregon or Idaho. In the past, they have gone to the John Day River, the Lower Salmon River, the Deschutes River, and many more.

A typical rafting trip for Burkhart is normally four to five days long. “It’s pretty similar to just going camping except every morning you get up and pack all your stuff into your raft, and then set it up that night and repeat,” he said.

Burkhart and his family have been going on their rafting trips for a while, and Burkhart said that his favorite thing to do on these trips is to go solo in their kayaks and just have fun. 

Along with rafting, Burkhart also enjoys spending time on Mt. Hood. He enjoys skiing there while there’s snow and goes mountain biking during the warmer seasons.

“I like skiing specifically because you don’t always have to follow someone else’s path,” he said. “You can go make your own, whether it be finding a new fun line in the trees or hitting side hits which are little jumps [or] bumps on the side of runs.”

Burkhart has been skiing since he was three years old and mountain biking since he was seven.

“I guess I just kind of like going fast,” he said. “I guess I got into [mountain biking] because to me, it is kind of like the summer equivalent of skiing. When I can’t be skiing, I can mountain bike.”

As much as he loves racing down the mountain on his bike, it can be very dangerous, and there is always room for error. During his sophomore year, Burkhart broke his collarbone going off a ramp two days before soccer tryouts, so he was unable to participate that year.

During his freshman year, Burkhart was on La Salle’s JV2 boys soccer team, and he hopes to play this year, COVID-19 permitting. On top of La Salle’s soccer team, he also plays for Portland United Soccer club

Although Burkhart spends most of his time outside, he always finds time to keep his grades up. 

Currently, Burkhart has a full school schedule. He is taking AP Biology, AP Calculus II (BC), AP English 3, AP U.S. History, Art Foundations, Catholic Moral Thinking/ Catholic Social Teaching, and Honors Spanish 3, all while maintaining a GPA of 4.4 and being a part of the National Honor Society.

Currently, Burkhart’s favorite and hardest class is AP Calculus II (BC) class with math teacher Mr. Larry Swanson.

“I like my teacher, Mr. Swanson,” he said. “We work in breakout rooms a lot with the same people, so that’s kind of nice, [it’s] like a little bit of social interaction that you don’t get [with] online school normally.” 

Although Burkhart puts in a lot of work into maintaining his grades and a high GPA, grades are not as important to him as one might think.

“I feel like… some people put way too much emphasis on grades,” he said. “I think it’s just a good idea to have [good] grades. It’s not a super big deal though… I see some kids freaking out because they [have] like a 3.9, and that’s still super good.”

Similar to other students, Burkhart is not a fan of online school. “There is a little bit of disconnect with the teachers. But I think it’s a lot better than it was last semester,” he said.

Burkhart said that he tends to not like school very much because it forces him to get up early in the morning. Then once he gets to school, he said, the idea of being “stuck” in his classes can be very monotonous. 

“My relationship with school is a little bit of a love-hate one,” he said. “Overall, I enjoy learning most of the time and feel super thankful that I get to go to a school like La Salle. A lot of people don’t have access to an education like the one I get, and I think it’s super important to remember that and take advantage of what I am given.”

Burkhart’s goals for this year are to maintain his grade point average, and to potentially take the SAT, even though it is not mandatory this year. As for the future, he hopes to potentially study something in STEM.

Burkhart’s final piece of advice to other students is to “do your homework.”