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Catherine Strong Rhodes

School: Wilson

Sports Played: Cross Country, Track and Field

High School Honors: 1 Cross Country letter.

4 Track & Field letters, on State Championship 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams as a Junior, 3rd in the 200m at State as a Senior. Team Captain as a Senior. Held Wilson records in 100m and 200m.

Post High School Career: Track letters at Oregon State in sprints and relays; earned Bachelor Degree in 1990 and MBA at George Fox in 1999. Worked as a Business Manager, Finance Manager, and Administrator. Volunteer roles have included working with non-profit organizations to promote community and well-being.


When I was 5 years old I ran a full lap around the track at the University of Washington. That day was a defining moment. I fell in love with running. With great excitement, my father told me that I was a fast sprinter and that I would one day get a track scholarship. I believed it! These simple encouraging words spoken to me in my youth, nurtured that possibility.

In high school the flame was fanned by incredible coaches like John Mays and Leon McKenzie who taught me the art of discipline, the power of education and the value of good character. I ended up getting a scholarship to Oregon State University.

Early on I learned the recipe for success: trying, doing one's best, hard work, discipline and team work. Victory can be found in the thrill of winning or simply by doing one's best, whether or not it gets you a first-place medal. These truths have been more than an echo in every area of my life. They have resonated with me relationally, spiritually and professionally.

I am grateful to the PIL for creating an arena for students to learn sports and discipline. Through sports, valuable skills for daily living are cultivated, giving one the fortitude to rise above the challenges that life brings. We must continue to inspire young people to dream big dreams, embrace the lessons learned through sports and good coaching, and to live into their passion. It starts with a word of hope and a willingness to fan those flames.

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