Class of 2020 Valley Valedictorians: Angela Rodriguez, Jimmy Carter Early College High School


Photo credit: Angela Rodriguez

              The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of students dramatically. From in-class sessions to distant learning, most affected in all of this is the graduating class of 2020. To honor each class and the hard work they have put in, CBS 4 is honoring valedictorians from each campus across the Rio Grande Valley on CBS 4 Valley This Morning.

LA JOYA, Texas (KVEO) — Angela Rodriguez is the valedictorian at Jimmy Carter Early College High School.

Angela works at H-E-B while also finishing her senior year.

She’s been an advocate for students and her community, creating groups to clean up the neighborhood, and encouraging students to reach out for help when they need it.

This pandemic has amplified her passion to make sure students who may be falling behind or may have problems accessing the internet, get the support they need.

“La Joya ISD has some of the most low-income students. I know that many of them struggle to turn in their assignments. No, this pandemic wasn’t planned, but sooner or later, we’re gonna get through this together and I just want them to know that people out there are here to help them and if they reach out to someone, they’re going to help them.”

Angela has been raised by her mother who is a single mom. She’s learned to grow up fast, taking on more responsibilities at a young age.

While this process in earning her high school education has been full of unique challenges, Angela says she is stronger for it and grateful to her mother.

“Thank you for always being at my right side and for helping me to become such a strong and independent woman. Regardless of the obstacles, difficulties, and challenges that life has thrown at me, I’m still standing strong.”

She’s learned to excel in school while working at HEB, not having access to WiFi – and is now adapting to this pandemic that has radically shifted life as she knows it.

Still, she is grateful for it all. She wants other students to know that even though the lockdown has thrown a curveball in their senior year, it’s all going to work out, one day at a time.

“If they set their mind to do something, they can accomplish it anyway. It doesn’t matter if they just have a paper and pencil, as long as they do their work. They just have to put effort in everything they do, and everything will come to you.”

She has a message for her teachers.

“I wouldn’t be here without them and I want to thank them for always listening to me. It was an awesome experience at my high school. I don’t want to change it for anything.”

As for her dream job? She hopes to continue her work at HEB and be a store director. She plans to study business and perhaps nursing in college.     

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