Not many teenagers have been able to accomplish all that 17 year old Dakota Root has achieved, including world-class athlete, possible future Olympian, aspiring politician, dazzling debater and a brilliant student who's being sought-after by some of the nation's finest universities.
A very attractive, instantly likable genuine role-model for her generation, the seemingly tireless teen is the daughter of 2012 Libertarian Presidential hopeful, FOX News regular guest, best-selling author, radio-TV personality and Las Vegas sports odds maker, Wayne Allyn Root who's always encouraged his eldest daughter to never stop exercising her mind and body, and to try as many sports as she could fit into an ever-increasing demanding schedule.
With physical dexterity and dedication worthy of a champion, Dakota excelled in several sports from swimming to soccer to tennis to becoming a black belt in karate. Only the sport of fencing pushed her, challenging her as much mentally as it did physically.
"Each fencing match is different," Dakota tells CyberSpacers. "Some opponents charge, some stand back and some try something in between. I like to size up my opponent before settling on a strategy."
For Dakota, fencing is a sport that overlaps politics through its combination of providing fierce competition and forcing each participant to be intellectually nimble.
"Every time you fence, you have to keep changing your game," Dakota explains. "You can't just rely on your skills. You have to rely on growing within the bout. You don't do that in most other sports."
Dakota has been in the sport only four years, but she's seriously considering attending college at Ivy League fencing powerhouses such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Penn and other academic powerhouses such as Stanford, Duke, Northwestern and Notre Dame. There appears to be reciprocal interest.
Her justifiably proud father, the 2008 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate, said he refuses to push Dakota in any direction -- in her choice of school or a sport.
The son of a Brooklyn butcher, Root said he regrets his parents not allowing him to play organized sports and chose his college. They wanted him to attend Columbia University, and that was that. End of discussion.
Root regards his four years at Columbia, where he and President Obama were in the same graduating class but did not know each other, as a miserable experience.
"I have never put any pressure on (Dakota) because my parents put such pressure on me," says her dad.
But Dakota's parents are adamant about home-schooling. They are convinced that the home-schooled approach is why Dakota is a straight-A student who takes advanced-placement classes in U.S. history on top of literature and composition.
And her most recent SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test) scores give good reason why Dakota's parents have such high expectations for her future. Fact is, her scores are among the top in America.
DAKOTA JUST SCORED TWO PERFECT SAT SCORES:
800 (perfect) in reading 800 (perfect) in writing 680 in Math
Total = a stratospheric, off-the-charts 2280 out of 2400!
Sadly, not many students across America, particularly those from public schools got anything near perfect scores on the grueling SAT test. And while CyberSpacers is utilized in school districts throughout the USA, with thousands of official memberships in 100+ countries, CyberSpacers undeniably recognizes the importance of school choice.
"Dakota is a very good example as to why we desperately need school choice," states her dad Wayne Root. "She excels as a home-schooled student while we pour billions (actually hundreds of billions of tax dollars) into failing public school systems…with over 50% drop-out rates...and many students who graduate due only to grade inflation...and the few who do manage to get into college...often need remedial math and reading to even survive their freshman year. As a Home School Student with the freedom to learn at her own pace, Dakota graded out as "PHS" (Post High School) in 6th grade on the nationwide Stanford Series 7 exams.
"But Dakota is not alone," her dad continues, "There are a growing number of kids from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who benefit and excel from Home Schooling. High SAT scores, early graduation, athletic excellence and other achievements of Home Schoolers are like thorns in the side of our failing public educational system. Now I can see why public school teacher's unions dislike school choice so much, can't you? But I think they need competition if they are ever going to improve.
"It's a shame our new President doesn't feel that way. He sends his two beautiful daughters to the best private school money can buy, while he condemns poor and minority children to failing public schools."
Indeed, Dakota may be the ideal poster child for a nationwide movement for alternative education. She isn't just brilliant and beautiful....with a winning smile and outgoing personality...and a possible future Olympic athlete…she possesses leadership skills far beyond her years...and debate skills that would stun most 40 year olds.
"Young people don't learn all that in a public school classroom," says Dakota's dad.
"Home Schooling allowed her to blossom, to learn at a pace according to her ability, beyond her age and grades." He continues: "Dakota spent her entire life around parents who love her and want (and expect) the best from her. She was never slowed by other classmates moving at a sluggish pace. She was never preoccupied by gossip and parties, never distracted by bullies or drugs or alcohol or the possibility of pregnancy. She was never discouraged by friends who denigrate achievement. She was never brainwashed by educators to want to denigrate or punish success. And she never had to get up at 5 AM to catch a 6 AM school bus in the freezing dark to start school at the un-Godly hour of 7 AM (a time when kids CANNOT learn)," Dakota's dad says matter-of-factly.
I've raised her to aim for Harvard or Stanford or other Ivy League schools almost since birth. I've mentioned these lofty goals for Dakota for 17 years in all my books. She will have the chance to impress college coaches in upcoming Fencing Nationals in Dallas, Texas. She understands what is on the line at those tournaments.
"It can get to you," Dakota tells CyberSpacers. "That's part of the game. You have to get your mind over these big hurdles."
Dakota showed an early aptitude for fencing, winning a handicapped version of an event on her first attempt. She then won without a handicap the following year. At 16 she traveled to Germany and Austria for 16-and-under World Cup tournaments. She fenced especially well in Germany, making the fourth round of pool play.
Proving that her performance was not a fluke, Dakota recently won under-19 epee (style of fencing) at the Pacific Coast Championships in Long Beach, Calif. She was second in the senior epee, which was open to competitors of all ages.
That's a head-turning rise through the ranks for a relative newcomer. It's also a rise that could continue, perhaps even to the Olympic Games, with 2016 as the likely target.
Her coach, Yves Auriol, at The Fencing Academy of Nevada isn't ready to call Dakota a future Olympian, but does not rule it out. Auriol is a four-time U.S. Olympic coach and is in the sport's Hall of Fame.
"When (Dakota) came here, she did not know much," Auriol makes clear. "In three years she has made a giant step. The reason is she's a hard worker. She's not a big girl (5 feet 5 inches), but she's very fast."
Papa Root hopes Dakota's most important work comes beyond the sport of fencing.
Known more for picking the winners of sporting events, Root became the Libertarian Party's surprise Vice Presidential candidate after Dakota delivered his Presidential nominating speech at the party's convention in Denver. Watch Dakota as a 16 year old giving the national television Presidential nomination speech for her dad Wayne Allyn Root at the Libertarian National Convention in Denver:
A verbal communicator rivaling and even surpassing her physical skills, Dakota prepared her father's political ambitions in other ways, too, sometimes taking opposite sides of discussions just to push him to defend his beliefs.
"When I tell you she's a good debater, it's because I'm a very good debater," said Root, who won nearly all straw polls on Libertarian Party presidential debates. "She can out-debate me on almost any topic."
While Root hopes to be the Libertarian nominee for president in 2012 and move it closer to inclusion with the big two parties that dominate the nation's politics, he knows the party is far from being on equal footing with Democrats & Republicans. He sees the party's future in Dakota, even comparing himself to how Joseph Kennedy laid the groundwork for his son to become president.
"I think Dakota's got a great shot to be the first female Jewish president of the United States," Root said. "She really is the real thing."
Dakota called herself "a proud Libertarian" in her Denver speech, which is on YouTube, but just as she does in fencing - she wants to remain open to many possibilities. There still are too many possible moves to size up.
"I haven't made up my mind," Dakota says honestly. "Am I a Republican? Am I a Democrat? Am I Libertarian? Am I conservative or liberal or progressive? You need people who passionately argue for what they believe in."
If the country needs honest political passion, Dakota is here to: Root for America!
Nonetheless, with all her achievements and the great things said -- if you think that Dakota Root is some kind of all-work, no-play-geeky-type nerd - you are wrong!
Her social life is a hoot, filled with fun, friends, family and travel. Her fellow fencers from all over the world are her best buddies. Fencing, travel and spending time with her gorgeous mom, Debra (a former Miss Oklahoma), dad and her three younger siblings is a Root hoot. The family travels, enjoying Utah and Maui, Hawaii several times a year. They ski, hike, body surf together. And they take pleasure in dining out, trying exotic foods and out-of-the-way restaurants.
Dakota also travels by herself to fencing tournaments across the world - most recently to Germany and Austria - where she spent quality time with her fencing friends, especially loving to sightsee and shop.
Yet somehow, in between all her remarkable activities, this intriguing young lady finds time for her favorite hobby: she reads 10+ books a month.
Still, most of all, she truly loves traveling, visiting and understanding other cultures. Her parents believe travel is one of the most important ways to educate children and teach them responsibility. Dakota's mom, Debra was an exchange student in Germany and Italy at age 16 and 17. And now her daughter is following in her footsteps.
"It changed my life," Debra Root tells CyberSpacers. "I wound up speaking fluent German and Italian, as well as loving travel and studying other cultures."
"This idea that teenagers need to hang out with their peers (most of whom are undisciplined, have no goals, don't understand how important these years are, and do not have parents that give a darn) is a big mistake we are making as a society," Dakota's dad says in his own powerful, inimitable way.
"Spending too much time with peers leads to negative and dangerous habits: smoking, drinking, doing drugs, having nonstop parties, and nonstop boyfriends. These are all counter-productive to success for a teenager. These distractions have led to the disastrous results of the U.S. educational system," her dad says credibly.
"These distractions ruin kids' focus from what is truly important - getting good grades and getting into the right college. Those are the issues that will affect the rest of a young person's life. It is all that matters at ages 14-18.
"What a terrible mistake to allow teenagers to focus on the things that don't matter, thereby lowering grades, hindering educational development, and damaging college prospects…and thus damaging their chance for success for the rest of their lives."
And though her dad strongly believes Education, Family, Sports, Reading, Studying and God should be at the base of every teenager's life - he also knows there's a time when every teen must mature, take the big step, and be responsible on their own.
"When Dakota gets to college she can do whatever she wants," Wayne Allyn Root tells CyberSpacers. "She's then an adult - and it's her responsibility, her life.
"My job was to keep her safe and focused for the first 18 years! But I am confident that once Dakota, or any well-focused young person for that matter, has developed the right foundation and positive habits, she or he will make the correct choices even when their parent or parents are not around.
"Listen, it worked for me and it can work for you, too. My parents taught me to be disciplined, ambitious, spiritual, family-centered, and patriotic. Having that rock solid kind of foundation will help you build success through the rest of your life."