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Fond memories of a life cut short

Acker said Rhodes was "the golden child" and that there wasn't anything not to like about him. She said there were even kids at the rally who had only met him once and were there to show support.

The people who knew him well, said Rhodes always tried to be positive and make sure people were heading in the right direction, which tied into his dream of becoming a psychologist.

"He was the kid that said you need to get to class on time, you need to do good in school and he would teach all the young kids," Acker said. "He was just a really positive kid. There might be kids like him, but they don't express it the way he did."

Colonie Central High School sophomore Bryan Tran said he didn't know Rhodes all that well, but he did recall a night in 2009 when he was too nervous to read his poem during a Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Dedication.

Tran said he was ready to walk off stage before Rhodes tried to convince him to stay.

"He took my hand and convinced me to not go away," he said. "That was really nice of him to do that. Then when I got back up, he was right next to me. And when I was done with my poem, he patted me on my shoulders saying, 'Good job.' He told me to not give up and saying, 'You got it. There's nothing to be afraid of.'"

Rhodes attended the South Colonie Central School District from kindergarten until eighth grade. During his time there, he became close with English teacher Marc Mostransky. Mostransky said that he never had Rhodes as a student but that he was involved in both the DJ Club as well as the poetry workshops.

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