CAMP VERDE – At 14 years of age, it makes sense that Keegan Rhoda likes to ride his dirt bike, play video games, play the guitar and hang out with his friends.
What’s not as expected is that Keegan is taking pre-calculus and is getting dual credits with Yavapai College.
Or that he’s already a junior in high school.
In fact, the Camp Verde resident might already be a senior in high school had his mother not resisted a suggestion for Keegan to be promoted from sixth grade directly to the ninth grade – after he had already skipped from grade two to grade four.
Ashley Rhoda says her son is a “pretty good kid.” Which sure sounds healthy, considering the inherent challenges of raising a child folks might call “gifted.”
He’s also a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, thanks to a 93rd percentile score out of 10th grade college bound students.
Since he took that test last year, Keegan has also taken his SAT and scored 100 points beyond his PSAT score.
“Keegan has been an exceptional kid from an early age,” Ashley Rhoda says.
Twice, Keegan has skipped a grade in school: he went from second to fourth grade at American Heritage Academy in Camp Verde, then following seventh grade at Mountain View Preparatory in Cottonwood, he went straight to ninth grade at Mingus Union High School.
The past year-plus, Keegan has attended Camp Verde High School.
A go-getter from a young age
Almost 3 years of age, Keegan was already attending Montessori school in Flagstaff.
“According to Ashley Rhoda, the teacher said that her son “was the only kid who came and asked for more lessons.”
Even at a young age, Keegan was fond of learning. At times in his young educational career, the young man found himself bored “every once in a while.” Which is one reason his mother first resisted his rapid ascent through school.
By second grade, Keegan wanted to earn a few dollars and came up with the idea to sell candy out of the back of his wagon.
“He would sell at the ball fields,” Ashley remembers. “He did it for a summer. The most he did in one day was $63.”
Making life easier for people
Less than two years away from his goal of attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Keegan is already making plans for his future.
Says he’s like to work for the CIA or the FBI, either in cyber intelligence or cyber defense, Keegan says that “making life easier for people would be satisfying.”
“Even if you’re behind the scenes, it helps to be there to help society,” Keegan says.
Until college, Keegan will continue with his high school studies, plan his dual credit coursework, and enjoy being one of the National Society of High School Scholars.
“The society has programs and conferences he can attend, scholarship opportunities, college coaching,” Ashley Rhoda says.
Decisive – most of the time
Keegan sees himself as someone who is pretty decisive – most of the time.
“I think a lot of things out pretty quickly,” he says. “But I’m not decisive on food.”
He does like pasta, says it’s his favorite.
Specifically, tortellini alfredo.
And Taco Bell.
“He loves Taco Bell,” says Jason Douvikas, Keegan’s principal at Camp Verde High School.
According to Douvikas, Keegan sits at the same cafeteria table each day, with a couple of friends who typically join him.
“He’s pretty quiet in the cafeteria,” Douvikas says.
“Kinda Doogie Howser-ish. What separates him from the others is that he has a plan. Self-motivated, very impressive.”