Meet Awards of Excellence winners, Connor and Tony Rinn. These brothers are students at Midland University in Fremont, NE. Tony is pursuing a degree in Secondary Education and Connor is majoring in Criminal Justice
The Awards of Excellence are given to high school seniors who demonstrate good character, balanced achievement, and outstanding commitment to the community. These students are also children of local first responders. The Rinn brothers’ father, Bill Rinn is a Captain with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Awards of Excellence Recipients Connor and Tony Rinn
These twin brothers graduated from Millard North High School last year and both are attending college on scholarships.
Connor Rinn is attending on a wrestling scholarship. Connor was a stand-out wrestler at Millard North. We asked him what the difference is between high school and college wrestling? Connor told us he attends practice two to three times a day which is twice as much as he practiced in high school. He feels college wrestling is more individualized than in high school which allows more room for growth. The competition in college is also tougher. Even though it is more work than in high school, Connor says it is a lot of fun. COVID has changed a few things for the sport including limiting spectators for home matches, excluding them from away matches and canceling a few tournaments. They also compete in-state only.
Tony Rinn is also on the wrestling team, but he is attending college on a band scholarship. Tony is happy to have the opportunity to be on the wrestling team. He says the coach is very understanding and flexible with Tony’s requirements with the band. Time-wise for extracurricular activities he spends about 70% with the band and 30% with wrestling. Tony plays the trumpet and is really enjoying college band. He said there are a lot more scheduled group and individual practices with instructors in college, and he has to practice more on his own as well because they play more pieces. He likes the professional type of musicianship that college offers and the opportunity to become more proficient as a musician.
Academically both of them are doing fantastic.
In fact, when pressed, they shared that they both have straight A’s. They were not sure that would be the case even two weeks before finals. They both feel that Millard North prepared them well for college but it is just a different kind of challenge. They have taken advantage of all the study sessions and tutoring that Midlands has to offer to help them reach their full potential so far. Also, they work well as a team, bring out the best in each other, calm each other down, and encourage each other to do their best. They were happy to have each other to lean on this first semester as they settled into the college routine.
They have enjoyed meeting new people and most of their friends are either in the band or on the wrestling team. They have also met new people in their dorm.
We asked them what they like about college and what they miss about high school?
Connor loves the fact that he is in college and is getting closer to being in the real world where he will be able to have a home and a family of his own. He misses the less stressfulness of high school and the nice home that they have, spending time with his parents and their dog, Molly. He said being away makes him cherish what they have all that much more.
Tony likes the control he has in college to make his own choices and is happy with the path he has chosen. He misses the kitchen they have at home as he and Connor both like to cook. They eat healthily and one of their favorite foods to make is rice bowls. They have access to a kitchen in the dorm on campus but it is nothing like home! Tony also misses being at home with the dog and spending time with his friends from high school.
Connor is following in his father’s footsteps and is pursuing a career in law enforcement. He took Introduction To Criminal Justice last semester and found it both interesting and challenging. He felt the same way about his Psychology class. By the end of the semester, he learned a lot about both subjects and learned how to navigate college.
Tony is studying to be a middle school math teacher. Midlands has already given him the opportunity to be in the classroom at the Fremont Middle School during his Teaching 101class. Tony loves the energy and the diversity of middle school students, and although he hopes to have the opportunity to experience many school districts in the metro area, he can see himself teaching in Fremont. Interestingly enough, Rinn’s mother, Natalie, is an elementary school teacher in the Westside School District. So Tony is following in his mom’s footsteps!
Tony and Connor were excited and were so honored to be selected as recipients of the Awards of Excellence.
Tony said when they received the news it gave him such a reassuring feeling, like a goal being reached, crossing the finish line and breaking the ribbon! Connor said it was great and awesome to be recognized and he felt his parents were also being recognized for their impact on the community. They are both proud of their parents and being a part of a first responder family.
In five years, Connor hopes to be part of a local first responders department, possibly the Omaha Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, or another metro area department. Tony hopes to be teaching middle school math, maybe in Fremont.
Roommates Tony and Connor will be splitting up for next semester but will still be in the same building. Connor will be an RA this semester and will have his own room. Tony will be rooming with a friend who is also in the band. They expect to still spend a lot of time together.
All of us at the First Responders Foundation and the Awards of Excellence Committee continue to wish them all the best in their future pursuits. Their hard work and dedication to academics and sports/band show their character. We look forward to the contributions that both Connor and Tony will make to society.
Connor and Tony sincerely thank the Foundation and the donors who fund the Awards of Excellence for this great honor and for the financial support.
Applications for the Awards of Excellence 2021 will be accepted starting January 25th. Watch here and on social media for more information. Click here for more information.