Lincoln-Way Central student exhibits dinosaur sized determinationWednesday, May 23, 2018
On May 30, Lincoln-Way Central senior Zachary Dundek will join his classmates as he walks across the stage to receive his diploma. Like many of his fellow Knights, Dundek has plans to attend college. Unlike many of his fellow Knights, Dundek’s wardrobe choice for graduation will be sure to include a dinosaur, a tradition that began over 14 years ago.
“At one point in preschool I said, ‘I’m going wear a dinosaur on my shirt every day,’ and I guess I just never stopped,” he says. “It’s more a testament to dedication instead of actively obsessing over dinosaurs.”
After watching “Jurassic Park,” Dundek decided he wanted to be a paleontologist. Family members and friends encouraged his interest by buying him dinosaur paraphernalia, including T-shirts. Since his declaration to “always be wearing a dinosaur T-shirt,” he has never missed a day, meaning that his T-shirts have displayed an extinct species for over 5,000 days straight.
Dundek says it hasn’t always been easy to keep up with the theme, but he’s always made sure to “stick to it” with modifications. “When I’d dress up, I’d wear dinosaur T-shirts underneath. Now I’ve slowly accumulated more dress clothes with dinosaurs on them so that I don’t have to hide them,” he says. Dundek even drew dinosaurs on the insides of his physical education uniforms throughout high school so that the tradition wouldn’t be broken. “A lot of the gym teachers are supportive of it,” he says.
When asked how others react to his wardrobe, he says, “Sometimes people don’t notice. Then, when they do, they don’t believe me when I say I’ve been wearing them this long because it sounds far-fetched. After they see it a few times, they realize I wasn’t joking.”
Dundek will attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio this fall and intends to study biochemistry. “It’s funny, I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was little and now I want to be a genetic engineer,” he says. “’Jurassic Park’ was one of the movies that inspired the T-shirts, and now I’ll study to have one of the two careers highlighted in the movie.”
Aside from his dinosaur reputation, teachers will also remember Dundek for his intelligence and determination. He will graduate with 5.51 grade point average. He was also an active participant in Mathletes, Peer Helpers, Lincoln-way Central plays and musicals, Scholastic Bowl, as well as fencing outside of school.
He intends to wear dinosaur T-shirts for the rest of his life. “I’ve gone this far,” he says. “Why not keep going?”