Tempe Prep Alum Shares Entrepreneurial Experiences in Africa

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By Anna Melis

Picture this: You are doing your homework and all seems hopeless, then all of a sudden it doesn’t seem quite as bleak. Well, after hearing Tempe Prep alum Forest Redlin speak, I felt as though Tempe Prep had been preparing me the whole time.

Forest Redlin graduated from Tempe Prep in 2013. While attending, he was captain of the football team and National Honor Society president, and participated in peer mediation and the German Club. He was quite accomplished but that’s not too far out of your reach.

One of the great things he mentioned about his Tempe Prep career was doing the senior thesis. Now, most likely, the dreaded senior thesis seems either far away or uncomfortably close. So hearing something positive about it is always refreshing. He said that not many students have the opportunity to write a thesis while still in high school, so we are lucky. It will set you farther ahead in college and help you tremendously.

He had a considerable amount of colleges to choose from, but he really liked the community of smaller liberal arts schools, much like that of Tempe Prep. So, Forest chose to attend college at Macalester College, a liberal arts college in Minnesota, and got his degree in economics.

While in the moment he did not know what he was going to do with that degree, he ended up doing great things. In college he did a variety of clubs and projects and some of his most notable college adventures were surrounding study abroad programs.

He went to Rwanda to help with refugees. He went to Germany to learn about the psychology of sustainable living. He went to Denmark to learn about sustainable cities. He went to Canada to showcase a box that helps save people addicted to drugs from getting HIV and Hepatitis C.

And lastly, the one I found most interesting, was he went to Paris, France to watch the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations. It was a meeting in 2015 that discussed the ever-worrying climate change crisis.

His advice when talking about these sorts of study abroad opportunities was to ask and ask and ask and ask. He said that if you want to go somewhere and have a reason, you should go to all the heads of the departments and propose your idea. And well, it seemed to work for him.

One of his most current post-college projects has him living in Africa to help renewable and sustainable farming. This is quite important as Africa is the largest consumer of wood. Large parts of the second largest continent are being wiped out due to deforestation.

The other project, also stationed in Africa, is how to decrease food waste. This is a huge problem worldwide but particularly in Africa because of lack of refrigeration. The proposed idea is insulated boxes to transfer food from one place to another. With this simple enough idea, vendor income should increase about 15 percent and food waste should decrease about 23 percent.

Forest has so far been very successful in life but he credits it to going by the mantra of, you don’t know where life is going to take you. Basically, if you keep your mind open and work hard you’ve been given the opportunity to do great things. So maybe, just maybe, that loathsome homework assignment will be worth it in the long run. 

Article by Anna Melis, a student staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.

About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org

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