Theo Rettke – Minnesota Nomination & Photography by Erinn Letts Photos Issue 60 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Theo Rettke is a remarkable young man. His smile can change a room in an instant. He is empathetic beyond his years, noticing everything with an emotional maturity that is rare in a person his age. He is charming, sensitive, and deeply loyal. He fills people's hearts with his generous and kind nature, dishing out compliments and spreading laughter with his fun-loving sense of humor. What the world would be if there were more people like him. Our community is blessed to have him.
Image by Theo Rettke ( this was a college trip I went on with my mom. We went to Mt Rainer and did some hiking)
Tell us about your baseball career. My baseball career isn't so much a career, it's more of a love to play. The game itself has taught me a lot both physically and mentally. I've learned from baseball that you can only control the things you have control over. You can't control the calls the umpire makes just like you can't control why certain things happen to you. Things happen and you have to move forward with your best attitude and mindset and keep working hard even if the situation sucks. I am now a pitcher for my high school team. I have made lots of friends from playing baseball and I love being able to enjoy the sport with them.
What is a favorite accomplishment and/or memory from baseball? I think my favorite memory from baseball was when I hit my first home run at Acorn Park, the field I grew up playing on. It is a moment I will never forget.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? To be honest, I have never thought about myself this way. Although, one quality that I have never noticed until recently is that I can talk to anyone without it being awkward or uncomfortable. I can have an enjoyable conversation with everybody, no matter who. I also love being able to talk to new people and connecting with them.
Image by Theo Rettke (social Studies class my friends brought balloons and started to rub them on my hair to make them stick. Was really funny.)
What else would you like to talk about? I would like to talk about this past year and everything that I’ve learned and gone through including the death of a friend and some recent difficult family times. Plus starting my senior year in school.
What has this last year been like? This last year I've gone through a lot. We had a family friend that passed away and I was really close with him. He was like another father to me. I've also gone through some difficult family things that I feel made me step up more around the house. I had to take more responsibility at home and help out with more than I was used to.
What have you learned? Our family friend’s name was Eric and I learned a lot from being with him and around him. I sort of modeled my personality to be like his because he was always making everyone smile and filled a room with laughter. His passing was a really hard time for me because I didn't have that person I could just talk to about whatever was on my mind anymore. I learned that there are things you can do that will still help you feel that comfort even if one of those ways is gone. Then with things at home I really learned a lot about providing for myself. It helped me grow and mature more because I had more responsibility at home and was taking care of myself because my parents were focused on the things happening with our family.
Image by Theo Rettke (Pitching in a baseball game)
Tell us about your family and where you fit in. I am the youngest member of my family. I have an older brother, mom, and dad. I was born in Guatemala and joined my family through adoption. I came to Minnesota when I was 5 months old. I love my family and all they do for me, and they have shaped me into who I am. We also have a wonderful doggo whose name is Emi, and she really helps the family love each other unconditionally.
How would your family describe you? My family would describe me as a pretty good kid. They would say I am fun to be around, respectful, responsible, fun loving, good humored, easy going, considerate of others, and a kid who loves to watch The Office and Anime. My Grandpa calls me “Ray” because he says I am a ray of sunshine.
What are you most looking forward to in your senior year? I am looking forward to graduation day for sure, but I'm also looking forward to taking the next step in my life and seeing where it takes me.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind? The sort of legacy that I want to leave behind is that you don't have to be anyone but yourself. I want people to see that you can be successful and not have to change yourself for anyone. You should be confident in who you are.
What is one memory you cannot wait to make? One memory I cannot wait to make is graduating college. That will be a big day for me and I will feel proud of myself for making it through college.
How did you find and why did you choose Erinn Letts Photos for your photographer? I found Erinn because her son is a friend of mine. I used to play basketball with him so our families have known each other for years. I chose her because she has always had a fun and kind personality. I really wanted someone who I could joke around with and it was perfect because I was able to do that with her.
What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? It was a great photo shoot with Erinn. Our other family friend Lysa came along to help because my parents were out of town. We had such a great time joking around. We all know each other very well and it created an environment of humor and fun. The thing I loved the most about the shoot was how funny and amazing Erinn was while taking pictures.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be? Something I could talk about to a group of people would be how everyone has something going on in their life and share some ways to deal or cope with it. Teens may not have the best ability to be able to deal with things and I’d just want to talk to them about ways to deal with whatever is going on with them. There have been some stressful and tough times in my life and I would be able to share my experiences in how I dealt with these moments.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? My favorite activity that was not mentioned in the nominations is that I love to snowboard. I love the feel of the wind blowing on your face with a slight chill. The vibe at night when the snow is falling and you are going down the slopes with music in your ear is amazing to experience.
3 Things on your bucket list Backcountry snowboarding is something that I really want to do and I will do it as soon as I can. I also want to go to Switzerland and go on a hiking/backpacking trip there. One more thing I want to do is go skydiving. I feel like it would be such a cool and amazing experience and it looks incredibly fun.
Look for Theo in issue 60 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!