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Bigger world awaits Bremerton High grad

Brett Aho, who graduated from Bremerton High School in 2006, will depart for Germany on a Fulbright scholarship next month. He was one of 8,000 people worldwide to be selected for the prestigious award this year. - Lynsi Burton/staff photo
Brett Aho, who graduated from Bremerton High School in 2006, will depart for Germany on a Fulbright scholarship next month. He was one of 8,000 people worldwide to be selected for the prestigious award this year.
— image credit: Lynsi Burton/staff photo

When Brett Aho of Bremerton was asked in a second-grade class assignment where in the world he wanted to travel, he was expected to answer “Disney World,” like most of his other classmates at View Ridge Elementary.

Instead, he wrote “Czechoslovakia.”

It was one of the earliest signs of what was to come for Aho, now a Fulbright scholar, who will pursue public policy studies in Germany, starting next month. He was born and raised in Bremerton and graduated from Bremerton High School in 2006.

“Early on he wanted to see if there was a bigger world,” his mother, Kay Aho, said.

The Fulbright Scholar Program, run by the U.S. Department of State, is an educational exchange program that sends students and educators abroad to teach, study and conduct research. The program awards 8,000 scholarships per year in 155 countries worldwide.

It won’t be Brett Aho’s first long-term excursion abroad. He spent a year as an exchange student in Switzerland his senior year of high school, and during his junior year of college, he studied in Germany and Senegal. At the University of Redlands in California, Brett Aho completed three majors in French, German and International Relations. Even in ninth grade, he gave up his lunch hour to take French classes at Bremerton High, in addition to his activities such as swimming, soccer and the jazz band.

Now, Brett Aho will return to Germany for at least a year to teach English to high school students and study how media influences domestic policy. He hopes to eventually enroll in a master’s degree program there and pursue a career in public policy.

But of all the places he’s traveled in the world, he likes Bremerton the best.

“It’s a little paradise in a nice, beautiful corner of the world,” he said.

Brett Aho enjoys hiking and kayaking, and has helped his father, Jim Aho, with his work in the Illahee Forest Stewardship Committee since he was in high school.

Among his varied experiences, one thing Brett Aho says he misses is the Bremerton High School Knowledge Bowl. Kay Aho says he’s still a “Jeopardy!” freak.

“Those were the best times of my life,” he said with a smile. “I miss that a lot.”

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