» Age: 18
» School: Columbus North High School
» Who are your parents, grandparents and siblings?
My mother is Sandra Rhodes and my father is James Rhodes. My grandparents are Norma Hamblen, Jim and Jane Hamblen, and Ron and Judy Rhodes.
» Which elementary and middle school/junior high did you attend?
I attended Columbus Christian School, Smith Elementary School and Northside Middle School.
» What’s your favorite class or part of the school day?
I don’t really have a favorite class. Each of my classes has its own set of unique personalities and quirks. It makes them hard to compare. This year I have really enjoyed my three AP classes. I enjoy them because my teachers really do make them enjoyable. Even on test days, I can usually count on getting to laugh in class as my teachers interact with my classmates.
» In which extracurricular activities do you participate?
I am an editor for the Columbus North Log Yearbook Staff, as well as a member of National Honor Society and Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. I have also taken and helped to teach dance classes at Beth’s Dancenter.
» When you’re not in school, where’s your favorite place to be and why?
My favorite place to be is the dance studio. I’ve been dancing since I was about 4 years old. My afternoons spent at Beth’s have made me a better person. Miss Michelle’s life lessons in the middle of tap class are always informative _ from staying hydrated to what to do when you get in a car accident. Between my senior solo (to a Taylor Swift song, I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!) and my senior project, this final year at Beth’s has been one of my favorites.
» What has been your greatest high school memory so far and why?
I have a lot of really lovely memories from high school. But overall I think my favorite memory would have to be sophomore year during finals week when the fire alarm went off three times in one day. The final one went off during a torrential downpour. We knew the fire wasn’t real, but our teachers made us go outside anyway. When we finally got the all clear, we went back inside but couldn’t have class because everyone was soaked. The desks were wet and the floors were nasty. We all just walked around, squeaked our shoes and took pictures together. This is one of my favorite memories because despite the stress of finals week, everyone was huddling together under umbrellas and laughing at our misfortune like one big odd family.
» What are you looking forward to after graduation?
I’m looking forward to seeing who I will become. I’m excited for college and for meeting new people. Columbus has been such an amazing place to grow up, but I know when I graduate that I will experience a time of growth and independence.
» Who in your life has inspired you or whom do you look up to and why?
My mother has been a huge inspiration to me through my life. She worked in advertising at The Republic and was an amazing mother. She had multiple sclerosis and passed away in 2008. But despite her illness, she worked hard and was always there for her family. Watching her struggles and seeing her beauty and strength through them has always stuck with me. Her spirit, her loving and caring nature reminds me to always keep going and always keep fighting no matter what has me down. I love her and I miss her so much.
» What is the most important thing you’ve learned during, or from, high school?
I learned one of the most important lessons at the very beginning of my freshman year. I was in Journalism 1 with Kim Green. There was one thing she said to us frequently, and it has always stuck with me: “Everyone has a story and everyone’s story matters.”
» Additional message:
Today is a new day. Today yesterday doesn’t matter. Today tomorrow doesn’t matter. Right now, it is today. Today is its own entity, its own moment. Todays are what make up your life, the inch by inch, not the mile by mile. You have a responsibility in this moment. You are to treasure it, to take advantage of it, to make it worth it. You are not just responsible for the collective tasks of your day. You are responsible for doing something that will make you smile or make you laugh. Today you can be braver than you were yesterday. Today you can be stronger than you were yesterday. Today you can say the words you couldn’t say yesterday. Today is the day to start living fearlessly. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow, and you shouldn’t. Your moment is today.