The Underground Railroad to Resilience: The Inspiring Journey of 13 year old humanitarian and movie star Chase Dillon and Leland Stanford Jr

Chase Dillon, The VR School at Research University
Chase Dillon stars in the Haunted Mansion. His mission is to use his gifts for the advancement of humankind's children.

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Chase Dillon, Designership Institute at Stanford
Chase W. Dillon, a full time student at The VR School is also a full time actor, one of the youngest in Hollywood. He stars in the Haunted Mansion

In the vast tapestry of history, two remarkable individuals, Chase Dillon and Leland Stanford Jr., converge through the intertwined threads of ambition and compassion, where the railroad serves as a pivotal motif. A shared desire burns within Chase Dillon’s heart, yearning for a children’s specialized hospital that could have saved young Leland Jr. from an untimely demise at the tender age of fifteen. Their narratives unfold against the haunting backdrop of Amazon Prime’s limited series, “The Underground Railroad,” where Chase’s poignant portrayal of Homer, a complex and powerful character, leaves an indelible mark.

In a mesmerizing embodiment of a modern-day child soldier, Dillon’s nuanced performance evokes a mix of brainwashing and self-contempt, stirring emotions of fear, anger, and sorrow. As an emerging contender for an Emmy, Dillon approaches the role with profound understanding, remarking, “He is a complicated little boy, and I don’t really have to like him to play him. But I do understand him.” This gifted young artist recognizes the depth of Homer’s observant nature, intelligence, and unwavering strength, akin to the formidable Ridgeway, another captivating character within the series. Homer’s actions serve a purpose, regardless of their moral weight, driven by the ultimate objective of protecting his boss and conveying vital information.

Underground Railroad, The VR School, Chase Dillon
The VR School, Research University student on A.I Ethics

Barry Jenkins, the series’ creator, harbored concerns over Dillon’s well-being and the potential impact of portraying such a challenging role on his developing psyche. As a protective measure, Jenkins shared all the scripts with the budding actor and his parents, ensuring their collective understanding and consent. Dillon, supported by his mother, delved deep into the source material, Colson Whitehead’s novel, eagerly embracing the opportunity to bring Homer to life on screen.

Reflecting on his initial encounter with the script, Dillon recalls the momentous realization of who Homer truly was, igniting a surge of power within him. The sheer magnitude of the role, particularly the preaching aspect, struck him with awe. The young actor’s excitement overflowed as he exclaimed, “Mama! Mama! I got this!” The profound storytelling and the portrayal of a character like Homer, previously absent from his educational journey, left him awestruck. Dillon’s hunger for knowledge and understanding of his own history and culture fuels his dedication to research and exploration, an ongoing voyage of discovery shared by us all.

Leland Stanford Jr., too, played a crucial role in history, albeit in a different era. The birth of America’s first transcontinental railroad in Promontory, Utah, represented the pinnacle of Leland Stanford Sr.’s ambitious vision. As a symbol of celebration, Leland and Jane Stanford hosted an extraordinary gathering, where their healthy baby boy was revealed to their delighted guests, cradled among a bed of blossoms, radiating joy and hope.

Behind the veil of grandeur and privilege, Leland Stanford Jr.’s personal story unfolds, an enigma concealed from many graduates of the renowned university that bears his name. Preserved within the archives of Green Library lie his letters and drawings—a testament to his vibrant spirit. His love for nature, animals, and concern for his companions’ well-being shine through, as does his insatiable curiosity and intellect, qualities that would resonate with admission deans at Stanford. Though his time on Earth was brief, his impact reverberates through the corridors of academia.

In the realm of education, the VR School, an integral part of the Designership Institute at Stanford, stands as a testament to the future envisioned by young visionaries like Chase Dillon. The institute’s very essence emerged from the University’s purpose, birthed from the sorrow of a fifteen-year-old boy’s untimely demise—Leland Stanford Jr. This institution serves as a crucible where the artistry and aspirations of fifteen-year-olds find fertile ground to flourish.

Professor Freedom Cheteni, a steadfast advocate for these young talents, presented his proposal to Stanford University’s president, John Hennessy, and the chairman of the board of trustees, Isaac Stein. It was a proposal born out of sorrow, driven by the understanding that within tragedy lies the potential for transformative change. Leland Stanford Jr.’s legacy becomes a catalyst, propelling the university forward on its perpetual quest for knowledge and creativity.

Chase Dillon and Leland Stanford Jr., separated by time and circumstance, embody the profound impact individuals can have on the world. Their narratives, intertwined with the railroad’s symbolic power, remind us that within the human experience, lies the potential for transformation, compassion, and the pursuit of a brighter future.

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