THS’ Rhea hopes to protect others at work
Editor’s Note: Franklin’s Future is a regular feature spotlighting a high school senior in Franklin County and what they have planned for life after graduation.
Joshlyn Rhea is described as a model student by her teachers at Tharptown High School.
The 18-year-old senior has been involved in numerous activities in her four years of high school and has still managed to make good grades and many friends – something that makes her a well-rounded teen.
Rhea said her willingness to participate in clubs, activities and sports was fostered by the small school atmosphere she grew up thriving in. She said it was easier to be involved and have an all around good experience in a school like Tharptown.
“I have loved going to Tharptown because I love the atmosphere here,” she said. “The teachers are great. They all know you by name and you’re able to have more one-on-one time with them than you would probably get at a bigger school.”
Rhea said knowing all her classmates made for a good high school experience as well.
“Everyone knows each other and you develop so many friendships in a smaller school,” she said. “Getting involved in activities is just another way to get to know everyone.”
During high school, Rhea has been involved in the National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Future Business Leaders of America, basketball, volleyball, softball and this year she is co-captain of the cheerleading squad.
“Being part of all these things is just a way to have a good high school experience,” she said. “You get so close to your teammates and you get to do fun things like cheerleading camp. We have so much fun doing that.”
It’s no doubt that Rhea has enjoyed her time in high school and she said she will miss seeing her friends on a daily basis once they graduate this May, but she said she is looking forward to college in the fall.
Rhea said she plans to attend Northwest-Shoals Community College to get her basics before transferring to the University of North Alabama.
“What I like about Northwest and UNA is that they are both close to home and I don’t think I’m ready to move away just yet,” she said. “Northwest will be a good place to get my basics and I think it will be a good transition into a four-year college.”
At UNA, Rhea said she plans to study for a career as an industrial hygienist, which is a person who protects the health and safety of other people in the workplace.
“My brother told me about industrial hygiene because his friend’s sister does that for NASA,” she said. “It sounded like it would be something I would enjoy doing so that’s the plan for now.”
Rhea said she likes to help people and animals but ruled out other jobs like a veterinarian or a doctor because she didn’t know if she would enjoy it as much.
“I volunteered at an animal shelter before and didn’t have a very good experience so I knew being a vet was not for me,” she said. “And I think I would be too worried I would hurt someone if I was a doctor, but being an industrial hygienist will still allow me to help people stay healthy and safe so I think it’s a good fit for me.”
Rhea said she would like having a job at NASA but she would also like to find a job in the Shoals area so she could settle down closer to home.
“I’ve loved living in Franklin County and I think it’s a good place to raise a family,” she said. “You can live in the country and have your privacy and still know all the people around you.”
Rhea said she is a country girl and loves spending her free time with her family or her boyfriend riding four wheelers, fishing and hunting.
“My daddy always took me and my cousins out hunting and fishing when I was little and it’s just something I like to do,” she said.
As she prepares for graduation, Rhea said she hoped students who were just starting their high school experience would remember that the most important thing is to always do you best.
“Stay focused and don’t let bad stuff get into your life,” she said. “Keep you eyes on things like making good grades and being involved and you’ll go far.”
Rhea is the daughter of Cynthia Rollins and Larry Rhea. She has two older brothers, Shannon Fleming and Derek Fleming.