TORONTO - John Rodesh Jr. said it was his fascination with American history and presidents that enabled him to score the highest on the Americanism and Government Test hosted by the city American Legion Post 86.
Rodesh, son of Carolyn and John Rodesh, earned his second consecutive win on the test, scoring the highest grade in Jefferson County. He said the win was easy because of his love of American history.
"My grandfather inspired my interest in history by telling stories and sharing facts about past events," said Rodesh, adding the presidents were the first aspect of history that he remembers studying independently. "When I was young, I was really fascinated with the presidents, so I memorized their names in the order in which they served."
TEST WINNER — John Rodesh, a student at Toronto High School, has won the Americanism and Government Test hosted by the Toronto American Legion Post 86. This is Rodesh’s second win in a row, and he said he’s been fascinated by American and presidential history for years. - Mark Miller
The Americanism and Government Test is a statewide high school test program sponsored by the American Legion.
The test is a comprehensive examination of American history and government at the federal, state, county and local level, said Rodesh. Another influence on John's love of history came from his aunt and uncle.
"My aunt and uncle are re-enactors of the American Revolution, and I have participated in re-enactments with them in Philadelphia, Pa., Yorktown, Va., Oswego, N.Y., and White Plains, N.Y."
Rodesh also said he was inspired Linda Blair, one of his favorite history teachers.
"My middle school history teacher Linda Blair made me see the relevance of knowing about American government and why things happen," he said. "Mrs. Blair taught in a way that everyone could understand."
Rodesh said his future probably will include a career in education.
"I would like to work at the high school level preparing students for college and exploring how people learn in different ways," he said.
Ed Robinson, Toronto high School principal, said Rodesh is a rare, can-do kind of student.
"Without a doubt John is a leader," Robinson said. "He's definitely going to be successful at whatever he chooses to do."
He is class president, editor of the school newspaper and an officer of the Toronto High School Band. He also is a member of the high school civics team, the choir, varsity club and Beta and Key clubs.