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.
WESLACO, Texas (KVEO) — Joshua Rodriguez is the valedictorian for Weslaco High School.
During this pandemic, Joshua has learned that he’s got to be more self-motivated to get work done, a challenge he believes will help him in college. He’s also seen his class and community take challenges in stride.
“It’s our world and future to shape, so to me, some people see it as scary the way things are going right now, but it makes me want to do something impactful that will actually make a difference instead of just going to a job that I won’t have as much impact.”
With all the challenges of the outbreak, Joshua shares sentiments of many who are appreciating the ways Valley communities have come together to help each other through.
“It brought Weslaco together and I’m sure it brought other communities together. You kind of have this sense that you want to get through this together and I think that’s important from here on out, you’ll value your health care workers more and show a little more appreciation. There [are] some benefits to the horrible coronavirus situation.”
He wants to thank teachers for pushing through this challenging time, how he recognizes their efforts keeping education going.
Joshua also acknowledges teachers have had to step up in many ways.
“I know it was difficult to work from home. They probably never had to do anything like that. I appreciate the effort they did to salvage the rest of the school year and I know they care. I appreciate the teachers that cared enough about their students even when it was a difficult situation for them, reaching out to us every day to make sure we’re ok.”
Joshua will look back on this year as one that changed the world around him.
“This virus that took over the world within a month. You just, you go from one week thinking you’ll be fine. Maybe it’s just a little virus, to two weeks later suddenly school is closed [for] the rest of the year. It’s just a lot of confusion, a lot of not knowing what’s going to happen, and then the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m also going to associate that societal change in this time period. It’s going to be interesting to look back on these two major events that happened in my senior year and see how life will have changed because of them. In the lockdown, there a lot of boredom and lot of wasted time, but also a valuable time of learning about this world and social justice.”
Joshua is going to the University of Texas at Austin. He wants to work in the medical field.