Ukrainian exchange student returns to Parker after 22 years


A Ukrainian man who spent a year in Parker, AZ when he was a teenager in 1993 has returned for a visit, telling Parker Rotary Club about his life since.

Taras Dasho came to America as a Rotary exchange student during the 1993/1994 school year when he was 15 years old. He lived with four host families while attending Parker High School, one of whom was the family of D.L. Wilson, now a County Supervisor. Wilson says he remembered Taras well, including his time spent learning to play American football.

“He attended high school and got together with other exchange students in the state for a 30-day tour of America. He was young for an exchange student, they’re usually seniors,” he said.

Taras was especially interested in political issues in his home country when he was a teenager, as it was just after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and it was a learning experience to visit another country.

“After my return from the United States I had one more year in high school, then I have decided to become a lawyer, went to the university in my city and have graduated, and now I am a partner in a company,” Taras told the Parker Rotary Club on Thursday.

Taras works with international corporations and says he writes and teaches labor law at a university. He is married with children and practices karate in his free time, joking that he would prefer to do karate full-time.

“I’ve come back to Parker and seen everyone, no-one has changed at all,” he said. “The town itself has changed a lot, but people remain the same. The desert is preserving, so you all look good and I’m glad to see you all.”

Taras is visiting the United States for a professional conference in San Francisco, but took two weeks’ vacation so that he could reconnect with the community that hosted him as an exchange student.

“One of the things he wanted to do when he left was ride a harley on Route 66,” Wilson said. “So we took him up to Bullhead and rented a Heritage Soft Tail.”

Taras rode up through Oatman, AZ and went on to Peach Springs, with plans to head toward Prescott in a loop back toward the Parker area later this week.

Parker Rotary Club is hosting the annual Harley Dinner. See the club’s WEBSITE HERE for more information.


  1. Fabian Dj-fabe Castro

    I remember him well, would’ve been nice to have known he was here.
    If you’re reading this taras, Godspeed .

  2. Steve Barbara

    we had a great time on wave runners!

  3. Summer Harper Aspa-Franco

    I remember him in my freshman or sophomore year. That is so cool he came back an visit parker. 🙂

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