WENATCHEE — The Rimes family started planning “the mother of all graduation parties” six months ago to celebrate six graduations spanning three generations and two career changes.
“Late last year, we realized there was a convergence of activities here, the likes that have never been seen before,” Kevin Rimes said.
Friends and family gathered Saturday for Graduation Meltdown 3000, which included a nod to the Rimes’ family’s accomplishments and a toast to what the future holds.
Kevin and Joan Rimes started with the idea of getting their four girls off to college.
“We had always made college a goal,” he said. “It was a priority for us that they go. They were always top-notch students, so we knew it was a matter of when, where and how.”
After their youngest — twins Marnie and Nicole — graduated from Wenatchee High School and followed their sisters on the path to college, Kevin Rimes, 52, decided he didn’t want to be in the mortgage business. He had been working in the industry since 1993, shortly after graduating from college with a degree in marketing and business.
At the suggestion of friends, he decided to try teaching, and landed a job in Eastmont as a substitute paraeducator.
“I love working with kids,” he said. “I decided to pursue that as my new career.”
He was offered a permanent position as a paraeducator at Foothills Middle School in Wenatchee and enrolled in an online program, working toward a master’s degree in elementary education. His goal is to teach third, fourth or fifth grades.
“I did my student teaching this spring and completed the program requirements to get my master’s degree,” he said.
Joan Rimes, 56, made a career move of her own about two years after her husband switched gears. She had been working in a laboratory at Confluence Health and transferred into health information management. She enrolled in an online program through Spokane Community College, taking 17 credits while working full time. She spent six months in Spokane and three months in Seattle on assignment, all the while taking a full load of courses. She graduated this spring with honors.
Hannah Rimes, 24, armed with a degree in nutrition from Seattle Pacific University earned two years ago, completed the coursework at Central Washington University to become a registered dietitian. She will graduate in August. During her required clinical rotations, she and her dad were both working at Foothills Middle School for about two weeks.
“To pay her own way through the program, she worked on days that she wasn’t attending courses or doing field work,” Kevin Rimes said. “On one occasion, she worked or interned for nine straight days.”
Marnie Rimes graduated in May from Whitworth University in Spokane with a double major in French and mathematical economics. Nicole Rimes graduated in June from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science.
To round out the graduate list, Nora Durfee, 4, daughter of the Emily Rimes Durfee (Kevin and Joan’s eldest), graduated this spring from Joyful Beginnings preschool.
“I think the story here is that whatever you do for a living, if you aren’t truly happy with what you are doing, make whatever changes are necessary to make you happy,” Kevin Rimes said. “Sometimes the barriers are high, but in the end, it will all be worth it. Life is too short to settle for anything less.”