By SCARLET O’ROURKE
As lockers and backpacks are emptied, college applications are mailed out and GPA’s are calculated, all eyes are turned to the top two students who gave their all for the past four years and can finally reap the benefits.
Mayra Rodriguez, 17, is the valedictorian of the Tarpon’s 2011 class, an honor, she believes, is but a stepping stone for her future.
“It’s an honor, but I really don’t make a big deal about that stuff,” Rodriguez said. “What I tend to think is that when I enter Texas A&M, you start back to your freshman year and it doesn’t really matter what you did, like who you are, but what you’re going to take into the college.”
Rodriguez plans to attend Texas A&M in College Station to major in Philosophy and minor in Psychology then attend law school to earn a doctorate to be a lawyer.
She has wanted to be a lawyer since 7 grade. Her family is still closely tied to those still in Mexico, and Rodriguez said she has known three people who have drown trying to swim to the US.
“All that kind of impacted me and I want to go into that area, into immigration defense,” Rodriguez said.
Being top of her class was not all that Rodriguez put her mind to in high school.
“I was on the boys’ JV soccer team and that was pretty fun,” Rodriguez said. For the last few months of her high school career, she participated in varsity track as a sprinter, running in the 100 and 200 meter races.
Rodriguez also volunteers every weekend at Sea Turtle Inc. “It’s pretty cool. I get to meet new people and be more responsible.
“As for my other accomplishments, I really never thought about it because my parents never pressured me to do stuff so it was all on me,” Rodriguez said.
Family is has been a cornerstone to the building blocks of Rodriguez’s character. Oldest of three children, she said both parents have influenced who she is, especially regarding her determination and ability to think before she jumps into things.