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College of Education Students Carry on Parents’ Legacy at NC State

The Rhodes Family: Jackie, Brad, Tori and Ashley.

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Each year, the College of Education welcomes freshman students who have made attending NC State a family tradition. In our new series, we’ll profile our freshman legacy students and their parent(s) who also attended NC State.

Ashley Rhodes is a freshman in the College of Education studying elementary education. Not only did both of her parents, Brad and Jackie, attend NC State, but her older sister is also a Wolfpacker too. Tori Rhodes is a junior in the College of Education.

Here’s what the Rhodes family had to say about their decisions to attend NC State and their experiences at the university.

What is/was your major?

Ashley Rhodes (AR): Elementary Education ‘19

Tori Rhodes (TR): Elementary Education ‘17

Brad Rhodes (BR): Business ‘90

Jackie (Wiley) Rhodes (JR): Zoology ‘89

Why did you choose to attend NC State? Did your parents’ decision to come to the university affect yours?

AR: Both my parents attended NC State, so I’ve grown up being a fan and going to games. They definitely influenced me coming to State, but I like to think I would have chosen this school anyways.

Ashley age 4.
Ashley age 4.

TR: I feel like I was probably influenced by my parents to attend NC State because I grew up attending games and visiting NC State’s campus. I have known the fight song lyrics since I was four years old.  

Why did you choose to attend NC State? What was your reaction to your daughters attending NC State?

BR: I received a baseball scholarship to NC State and played from 1985-89. I had a few offers, but when NC State gave me a scholarship, it made my decision way easier.

Both of our daughters, Tori and Ashley, are students at NC State. We felt a little guilty before our kids were accepted because we had put so much emphasis on the great time we had in college, especially at State. The concern was that if one/both of our daughters did not get into NC State, they may have felt that they let us down. Of course, our kids could never let us down.

Once Tori was accepted and then Ashley was accepted, the concern was over. My wife and I have enjoyed replaying all our experiences, showing them the different places where we lived and where our classes were all those years ago. We are truly a Wolfpack family!

JR: I chose NC State because of the Vet School, but I changed majors after being awarded a scholarship for Athletic Training, because back then, trainers were not eligible for scholarships until sophomore year.

I was very excited when Tori chose NC State, but I was not surprised – she was raised a Wolfpacker.

Now Ashley surprised and thrilled me by choosing NC State. She was also raised a NC State fan, but she was considering other schools during senior year. We could not have been any more excited when she chose this university.

I hope my girls enjoy their time at NC State, but, how can they not? I am so proud that they have both chosen to teach. They love children and see the need for great teachers. They chose NC State’s program because it is the only STEM-based program in North Carolina. Both girls looked into other programs only to find that the College of Education’s is one of the best in the whole country.

What specifically drew you to the College of Education?

AR: I want to be a teacher, so the College of Education was a no brainer. My sister is a junior in elementary education and she has enjoyed it, so I knew I would as well.

TR: I loved the idea of a big university, but a small college within the university. The College of Education here at NC State was just that.

Also, the fact that NC State’s College of Education is a STEM-based program felt like a perfect fit for me since North Carolina has moved to a STEM-focused curriculum.

Ashley, tell us about your first semester at NC State. What are you most excited to do in your next 3.5 years here?

AR: First semester taught me a lot about time management and allowed me to realize who I really am. I learned that I’m a lot more introverted than I thought, but that’s okay.

Ashley and Tori
Ashley (left) and Tori (right) cheer on the Wolfpack at a game.

One of the best things I learned was that there’s no “right” way to do college. Classes were hard and I had a lot of homework. The good thing is, everyone else is in the same boat.

I joined ELMO, Wolfpack Club, Student Alumni Association, and Zoology Club. These were all fun because I met new people and they gave me a break from all my schoolwork.

In the next 3.5 years, I am most excited to get out of my comfort zone. I haven’t done that too much yet, so I will need to challenge myself and make the most of the opportunities that I’m given. I want to mature and become a more well-rounded individual.

Tell us about your time at NC State.

TR: I am in the Scholars Program, Student Wolfpack Club, Student Alumni Association, ELMO (Elementary Education Organization) and I work at Team Attraction Gymnastics in Apex.

I am proud of myself for balancing a job with the intense course load I currently have. Plus, I’ve managed to maintain a 4.0 grade point average throughout my college career.

BR: My main memories are in playing baseball. I had always been an NC State fan due to my father graduating from the university in the early 60s. I also met my wife, Jackie, at NC State.  

JR: I became an athletic trainer before even starting my freshman year. I was a manager for the baseball team in high school and I wrote a letter to the athletic department at NC State. It was the training department that answered. I worked with the football team all four years, but it wasn’t until my junior year (under head coach Dick Sheridan) that female trainers could be on the sidelines during games. During that time, I had the opportunity to do something never done at NC State before.

Later in my junior year I became the first ever female trainer for the baseball team under head coach Ray Tanner (his first year as head coach). I worked with the football team, baseball team, gymnastics team, volleyball team and in the training room with all athletes.

I met my husband, who was a baseball player, during my time at NC State. I also connected with Portia Propst who was a gymnast and now owns Central Carolina Gymnastics in Lexington NC, where I currently work as the head team coach and class instructor… So, as you can see, NC State truly molded my life into what it is today.