Jacob Langsner '13

Student, Certified Student Attorney, Summer Associate

High School: Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
College(s): Stanford University -  B.A. in Political Science, minor in Art History, and Stanford Law School 
Share one of your favorite Dawson memories:
I attended Dawson from jindergarten through eighth grade. One of my earliest and warmest memories of Dawson is playing the role of the Ringmaster for our first-grade circus performance in Ms. Beagle’s class.

Who were the Dawson teachers that impacted your education/life the most?
Russell Jacobs was the most impactful teacher I had at Dawson. In woodshop, he constantly encouraged me to experiment and expand my creative interests. He taught me the necessity of determination, commitment, and patience in art. Mr. Jacobs also encouraged me to expand the types of art and media I consumed. Beyond creative instruction, he also provided guidance as my academic/homeroom advisor. Additionally, the English teachers at Dawson (especially Mr. Browne) assigned particularly impactful literature. It was challenging for my age, but also encouraged me to ask bigger questions. I’m still appreciative that the Dawson curriculum encouraged tackling hard topics with independent thought.

What skills and competencies did you learn at Dawson that you continue to use today?
I maintain the culture of warmth and acceptance I learned to foster at Dawson in all my current personal, professional, and academic endeavors. At Dawson, English and Science were my two favorite subjects. I still write often, ranging from screenplays and short stories to legal briefs and policy proposals. While I am less engaged with the sciences, I still approach projects with an experimental eye, and with the structured yet hands-on mentality of scientific exploration I learned at Dawson. 

How did Dawson prepare you for high school, college, and beyond?
Dawson prepared me extremely well for my future academic experiences. In the arenas of English and written communication, my time at Dawson was essential for my success in high school. The writing and reading skills I learned at Dawson ensured I was well prepared to take on AP and other advanced classes. 

Can you share 1-2 academic or professional highlights that you’re proud of?
Beyond my study of law at Stanford, I have written, directed, and produced over 20 short films, which have been officially selected to screen in over 30 national and international film festivals.

Why did you decide to be part of the Dawson Alumni Council?
Dawson played a critical role in setting the foundation for my personal and academic successes. It would be an honor to help maintain and improve the institution for future generations.

Any advice for current Dawson students?
Do what you love, and do a lot of it. Getting into college, and even applying to high schools, is only partially about academic achievement. Of course, I’d encourage anyone to read, learn, and grow intellectually. But potentially even more important: find a passion. Find the thing that makes you genuinely happy—the thing that doesn’t even feel like work. That said, there’s no pressure to have just one “thing”. Before studying political science and then law, I was often the “art kid”. I’ve continued to find many different avenues to tell the stories that matter to me. But you never have to fall into one specific category, and you absolutely do not have to enter high school knowing what you want to do as an adult. Just be interested. Listen, and pay attention to the lessons, themes, or topics that stick with you. Read more about those things, and engage with them. It’ll lead to success, and it won’t even feel like an assignment.

The Alexander Dawson School

The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student academics, wellbeing, and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners and leaders. At Dawson, students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.