AOTM: Justin Rios


There are some people who are artists through and through. You can tell they show themselves authentically through their work, and for their whole lives they have expressed themselves creatively. Senior Justin Rios is one of those people.

Justin has always known that art was his passion. “It’s something I’ve been drawn to my whole life,” he said, “ever since I was little. I’ve always asked for a piece of paper and something to draw with.”

His favorite mediums are a simple pencil and paper; he is able to use those tools to create beautifully complex pieces of art. Justin has grown as an artist under all of the KO art teachers, but he has had a particularly special experience working with creative arts teacher Katie Burnett.

“I’ve been teaching Justin forever,” Ms. Burnett said. She not only taught him at his former middle school, but she also arrived at KO around the same time he did. “He’s so incredibly imaginative, and he has such interesting conceptual ideas,” she said.

While Justin credits his art teachers for allowing him to try new things and grow as an artist, his teachers have equally high compliments of him. “He’s just a really awesome human being,” Ms. Burnett said, “and I think that comes out in his work.” 

As an artist, Justin is not afraid to completely dive into a piece, putting everything into that one piece. He is also able to work with any mistakes and eventually turn them into something beautiful. 

His can-do attitude has greatly benefited him with visual arts, but he also applies the same attitude to the performing arts. Justin is an extremely gifted artist in all forms, and his talents carry through to the performing arts as well.

His love for performing began in sixth grade, when he and his classmates had to write and perform skits about Greek mythology.

After finding great success in middle school and earning lead roles in the school musical (such as the titular role in “Aladdin”), Justin knew he wanted to continue musical theater in high school.

In this year’s production of “9 to 5 the Musical,” Justin played the role of Joe, the “hunky accountant” of the office, and Violet’s love interest. “Getting close with people who enjoy expressing themselves the same way you do and who are like minded is really rewarding,” he said.

Even though we are sad to say goodbye to Justin, we are so glad that his last year at KO was memorable. “I’ve really grown close with a lot of people and I’ve made really good connections and awesome memories,” he said. “It was a great last year.”

We know that Justin will do great things, and we hope that he comes back to visit in the future!