Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ALL-ACADEMIC TEAMS -

Rees Ridout is a builder, but he’s not con­struct­ing in a tra­di­tional man­ner.

Dur­ing a bio­sciences and en­gi­neer­ing sum­mer camp last year, Ridout cre­ated a 3-D-printed pros­thetic hand. He hopes he can as­sem­ble a more use­ful ver­sion as he gains more knowl­edge.

“I have al­ways been an en­gi­neer at heart,” Ridout said. “Grow­ing up I had a habit of tak­ing things apart and putting them back to­gether, which did not al­ways make my mother very happy.

“You look at a clock, and you think it’s a sim­ple piece of ma­chin­ery, but you open up the in­side and its much more com­plex. I would look at the gears and mo­tors and try to dis­cover how they worked and if I can make them work bet­ter. Some­times I could and a lot of times I couldn’t.”

This fall, Ridout will en­ter Duke Univer­sity in Durham, N.C., and will ma­jor in biomed­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing.

“The thing I’m most proud of is get­ting ac­cepted to Duke,” Ridout said. “That’s been one of my goals for a long time. It’s tough. Only 9 per­cent of the stu­dents that ap­plied this year got in.”

Ridout also built a rep­u­ta­tion as a good ten­nis player for Searcy High School. Rees and his part­ner, Luke Wolfe, set a school record for the most vic­to­ries

(28) by a dou­bles team. Ridout and Wolfe fin­ished run­ners-up in the Class 6A tour­na­ment and ad­vanced as far as the Over­all quar­ter­fi­nals.

“We weren’t ex­pected to go that far,” Ridout said. “We re­ally weren’t ex­pect­ing to win our state semi­fi­nal match but on that day we were re­ally on top of things. And when we won, it was awe­some.”

Ridout al­ready has gained valu­able knowl­edge from re­spected en­gi­neers. At a sym­po­sium at Space-X head­quar­ters in Hawthorne, Calif., he was given ad­vice on en­gi­neer­ing ed­u­ca­tion by pro­ces­sion and propul­sion en­gi­neers.

At Duke, Ridout will join his older brother. Rivers Ridout is a ju­nior high jumper on the Blue Devils’ track team.

“He’s more of an ath­lete than I am,” Rees Ridout said.


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