The many sided man

Senior Collin Rhodes is tackling school, life and his future in more ways than one

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“So, what don’t you do?” is probably the question that comes to mind when you talk to a guy like Collin Rhodes.

A man of many talents, Rhodes has explored a broad array of activities. He has been a member of the tennis team, an Advanced Placement (AP) and STEM student, a devout member in his church and a musician with a passion for bass.

Rhodes’ interest in music began after a friend encouraged him to play in the band at his church.

Rhodes began with clarinet in sixth grade, then transitioned to bass guitar in seventh grade when he first started playing jazz. He balanced playing both instruments for another two years before he joined band in high school his sophomore year, and then decided to focus on bass.

After four years of experience playing the instrument, he chose to learn upright bass, which he said had a difficult technical aspect even though the notes were the same. Since switching to upright bass Rhodes has been a part of Jazz 2 his sophomore year and Jazz 1 his junior and senior years.

Rhodes enjoys playing for other people and performing. His favorite aspect of playing is during the open spaces in the music, meant for soloing, when everyone improvises. He finds these moments both interesting and rewarding.

“It’s so much fun to see it all come together…It’s so rewarding to see yourself create something so beautiful and it’s just spontaneous right there, and then it’s gone,” Rhodes said.

Along with music, transferring to MTHS allowed Rhodes to participate in the STEM program. In alignment with the aerospace pathway, Rhodes has completed classes such as introduction to engineering, principles of engineering, and aerospace.

“I’ve always liked just kind of mechanical things. I’m into like twisty puzzles like Rubik’s cubes. Just puzzles in general so I thought engineering [would] be pretty cool and decided to join STEM,” he said.

His father had a major influence on his mechanical mind and interest in engineering, beginning with them playing with Legos together.

“I just talk to him about anything I have going on and he always has great advice, he is one wise dude…I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done [for me],” Rhodes said.

During the summer of his junior year, Rhodes had the opportunity to participate in the Washington Aerospace Scholars Summer Program, however the work began long before summer started.

The objective of the summer program was to design a mission to Mars. The students who were chosen were divided into four groups who each spent a separate week at the Museum of Flight, Rhodes was selected for the “integration” team. The team was guided by mentors who worked in the aerospace field to organize what all was going to happen on the mission, why, and when. The biggest lesson he learned was that communication was key for high efficiency.

After applying to and being accepted to the program at the beginning of his junior year Rhodes had to enlist in an online class provided the University of Washington on subjects about outer space such as space exploration, the history of space travel, and the progress of technology. Rhodes also had to complete challenges such as math problems and concept programs, one of which was designing his own rover or rocket.

Rhodes was graded every two weeks on readings and essays. At the end of the course only 160 students from all over Washington were accepted to complete the summer program based on their scores from the class. Rhodes was one of them.

While he claimed it was a lot of hard work having to balance his UW class for the program with his full schedule at MTHS, it was all worth it in the end with him being a finalist.

On top of industry experience, Rhodes also went on a few tours involving Boeing and Alaska Airlines. He also got to make connections within the aerospace field which he believes will help him in future endeavors as he now has references of recommendation from top professionals.

After completing the program, Rhodes commented that it was hard to balance online classes with full course work at MTHS, especially AP classes. Although he felt he had learned a lot and he enjoyed the challenge the rigorous classes provided because he knew that if he put in the effort, it would benefit him in the future.

In addition to music and STEM, Rhodes is also an athlete. He has been playing tennis since the summer before his freshman year, when he was signed up by his mother to take a tennis course at the Mountlake Terrace Recreation Center led by two brothers who were seniors at Mountlake Terrace High School.

Once he began playing he found tennis spurred his mechanical mind with the physics behind the sport such as the angles he needed to hit, spin of the ball, and the strategy of placing the ball where he wanted it to go. His coaches, the brothers, invited him to a captain’s practice where they convinced him to play tennis on the school team his freshman year, even though he did not attend the school at that point in time.

When Rhodes began attending MTHS in the fall of his sophomore year he was grateful for having participated in tennis because it helped the transition as he already knew some people and had some friends to begin the year with.

Rhodes has participated on the tennis team throughout his high school career: beginning his freshman year on JV and Varsity his sophomore, junior, and senior years. While on JV he played singles however as he moved to varsity he also transitioned to playing doubles.

Before coming to MTHS, Rhodes met most of his friends through his church. Rhodes joined his church, Calvary Fellowship in Mountlake Terrace, in second grade and has been a dedicated and active member ever since.

He is a part of his church’s student leader group for which he assists in organizing events such as auctions, concerts, and summer trips, one of which took the group consisting of nearly 95 people down to California. While he claims he is not one of the main people who arranges the events, he actively participates in putting them on, helping with set up, making sure the event goes smoothly and then cleaning up.

“I like helping out with everything I can,” Rhodes said.

It is because of his commitment to his religion and his faith that Rhodes believes he highly values hard work, good ethics and good morals.

“That’s probably one of the biggest influences in my life and just kind of me being who I am,” he said.

Rhodes also attributes his understanding and appreciation of hard work to his father who has been very influential in his life, serving as his role model.  His father has taught him by example to always work hard, respect others differences, and to stand up for what is right and to do the right thing even when no one else will.

Rhodes hopes to pass on the advice that hard work pays off to other students at MTHS.

“My advice is to work hard in particularly… Every time I’ve done my best at something it’s always worked out. Good ethics while you do your work [are also important] because otherwise it’s just kind of fake and all in vain,” he concluded.

Rhodes will graduate with a STEM Honors diploma, after which he plans to get a summer job and go to Edmonds Community College.

Once his prerequisites are complete his goal is to transfer to a university such as the University of Washington, Washington State University or George Fox University in Oregon to finish his studies. He now no longer plans on working in the aerospace field, preferring to focus more on mechanical engineering.

Rhodes plans to continue playing bass in the future, however not in a school band as he wants to focus more on his studies. He said he hopes to explore different aspects of music, such as taking a music theory class if he has space in his schedule.

Rhodes also wants to expand his music ability by learning to play the guitar and drums.

“I love music. Listening to music. Playing music. All sorts of things,” Rhodes said.

He also said he hopes to continue playing tennis, however not competitively. He said that he would prefer to continue playing for fun with friends throughout the rest of life.

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