Fond memories of a life cut short

Mostransky said he doesn't usually give out his cell phone numbers to his students unless he felt they needed it. With Rhodes, Mostranksy said he could talk to him about anything, including real life situations.

The last time he spoke with Rhodes was at the Teen Poetry Slam on Friday, April 29, where they spoke for 20 minutes. Mostransky said Rhodes had never performed at one of the slams, even though he had tried to get him involved. He knew Rhodes had the ability to perform after a poem he did on gun violence that was featured on Jamz 96.3. He even performed it at South Colonie's Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speech Dedication, which many students recalled as one of the most memorable.

But after attending the poetry slam that evening, Rhodes asked if he could do it next year.

"Here I am thinking I'm going to get a text from him in a couple of days," he said. "While he was there at the poetry slam, he said to me, 'I didn't know it was like this. I'm going to do it next year' and then we hugged. I think the important thing now is that Tyler just doesn't become a blurb on the 5 o'clock news and gone in two weeks."

Mostransky said he is now going to make sure the clubs he supervises will be dedicated to the memory of Rhodes and hopefully embody what he stood for.

A close friend of Rhodes', Tiffany Alderman, a freshman at Colonie Central High School, wore a rosary that Rhodes had on him the evening of the poetry slam. She said she saw it on a table and she decided to take it, for fear something would happen. When she found out Rhodes had died on Saturday, April 30, she was in disbelief.

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