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July 30, 2014

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15 minutes with 2008 BHS grad Rico Pena

Rico Pena

15 minutes with Ricardo Pena

What year did you graduate from Bluffton High School?
2008

Where are you attending college and what is your major?
The Ohio State University, Columbus
Major: Social Work
Minor: Leadership

What are your plans after college?
Although I would have been preparing to graduate this June, I changed my major late in the game and will be in Columbus for another year. Pushing my graduation back to May 2013 (next academic year is the first year OSU will be on semesters). However, upon graduation I plan on working at a Teach for America summer institute as staff to garner a better idea of the functioning of larger non-profits. After such I plan to move to New York City and obtain a position working within the non-profit sector. I wish to apply for any available positions, but my top picks are Teach for America, Charity Water, and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Did you see The Hunger Games?
I did. I saw it here in Columbus after I got back from New York. I thought it was fantastic! I didn't know what to expect throughout, which actually made the movie more exciting. The story was well told and I would recommend it to anyone who likes action as there was much of it. Now, I have not read any of the books, yet my friends who have read them also said great things. I plan on reading the books, knowing full well how addicting they are, once I have more time.

What's the worst grade you ever received in Bluffton High School? Please explain.
My worst grade I ever received was actually in Art. And I remember it very well. We had to create a children's book out of paper and write about a famous artist, which was an easy task to say the least. When researching information about my artist I apparently didn't change enough of a sentence to render it my own. That one sentence gave me the worst grade I ever received, which was not hard to beat as it was a zero out of a hundred. It concurrently knocked my grade from an A to a C and out of Gold Card standing and then later backfired as well as I then had to take all of my exams. It wasn't my best quarter to say the least.

Can you recall the first thing you ever wanted to grow up to be when you were a little kid?
I am not sure if this was the first thing I wanted to be or the most withstanding thing, but what I wanted to be when I grew up was an astronaut for NASA. And I had it all planned out. My mom supported me (probably knowing that it would eventually fizzle away) by giving me space magazines and a telescope. I became interested in the stars and planets and I really wanted to go to a NASA space camp. There was really no substance to this dream as it was just that, a dream, but I recognize it as the first time I set goals and standards for myself. Not sure what happened along the road, but I never went to space camp and my goals logically settled on college. I was accepted to Ohio State in Columbus and that is where I am today, majoring in Social Work.

Tell us about your eighth grade science project.
You start to feel old when you have to think about what I actually did, but my science fair project was on alternative energies, which is something that has always fascinated me since I can remember. You can ask my mom. It was called, "Light, There and Back Again." In a nutshell it was a lamp placed over a solar cell at various heights above the solar cell and I collected the output to see how much energy was acquired with various watt bulbs. Needless to say it was a better idea than a project and I didn't go any farther in the science fair, which at the time was what I wanted.

What was your favorite food in the Bluffton (elementary or high school) cafeteria?
I really didn't have a favorite as much of it was not the greatest. If I had to say something it would be the chocolate milk, which looking back I had every school day from Elementary to High school.

Where did you paint your name on the street in front of the high school?
My name is long gone and I believe paved over by now. If you were to dig it up it was in the middle of the street, but more towards Jackson Street. I am not an artist... meaning my name was a blue square filled in, with my name written in white on top.

Do you have any tattoos?
I don't have any tattoos and do not wish to get any. I try an avoid needles.

What kind of music are you listening to fairly regularly?
My music tastes are not atypical, just my patience with it is. It would have to be a great song for me to listen to it the whole way through (I'm a radio station flipper), so my favorite music is Mash-Ups. Such as Girl Talk, Super Mash Bros, and DJ Earworm. Girl Talk is by far my favorite as they take songs from as far back as the Jackson 5 and mash them with today's hits. The combination works for me.

Who is the most famous person you've ever met?
Truth is, I don't believe I have met anyone really famous. I have met local "icons" like Gordon Gee, Jared Sullinger, and Representative Jim Jordan. All for different reasons, but all seem to be people with a fan base.

When someone asks where you are from, how do you describe Bluffton?
I always test people, because I am astonished at how many people in Columbus have heard of Bluffton. Most reasons are that they are from North West Ohio themselves, have played sports against Bluffton, or have heard of the University. I first start by saying I am from a small town to preface the conversation. Then I either say that I graduated in a class of 92 or that we have 4 stoplights (I don't count the caution light on county line). Because it seems the smaller the town, the easier it is to determine size by the amount of stoplights it can hold. Then I launch into what seems like the typical small town speech about who is who and what church they go to, because if there is one thing I noticed there is an abnormally large amount of churches in Bluffton.