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.
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — Rodrigo Cisneros is the valedictorian for Porter High School.
Even though this year was cut short, Rodrigo has found a positive outlook. He looks back on his years of high school and knows he enjoyed every moment with his friends.
“We made it right? Even though we only got one semester of the senior year, we lived three and a half years like if it was our senior year. The highs and lows give spice to it. The struggle is good, right? Because the bad days make you reference to the good days. I think that’s enough for anybody to see.”
On the upside of the pandemic, many students have been faced with the choice of delaying going to college for a year. Rodrigo sees this as a good thing.
“It’s good to have a break going into college, it’s good to have a transition in high school and then a little summer break and having orientations, and to focus on figuring out the money, and then going away to a new city and starting a new life. So I think the pandemic is good for our class.”
Rodrigo knows what it takes to excel in class. But he also understands that titles and academic accomplishments aren’t everything. He wishes his classmates of all backgrounds and career goals, the best in their future.
“Wherever you go with the military, with college, starting a job, or a business, I wish them luck and success because at the end of the day being valedictorian doesn’t mean you have your life made. I was also friends with people who didn’t do as great because of their struggle with English and that was also amazing because I believe in them. I legitimately know that language is a barrier but once you overcome it, it gets easier. English was my second language and even though you don’t get it 100% striving for 99.9% is a solid. I wish everybody the best luck and to never get discouraged even though society places college as symbolism of success.”
He wants his parents to know that graduating is just the beginning
“It’s not done yet. Even though they tell me they’re super proud of my accomplishments, I tell my mom high school [that] I don’t consider it to be the best achievement there is because of course there’s more to life, but it symbolizes when we’re going to be independent. I agree on that but I’m not done.”
Rodrigo has realized his teachers are his greatest cheerleaders and confidants
“They were more friends than teachers because I liked speaking to people who have more experience than me it’s interesting right to hear people of different views, or their values. I want to thank them. Not for being teachers, but for being friends. Teachers at the end of the day, they’re still humans. They go home to families at the end of the day and having them invest in me and my success as a person – that’s pretty nice.”
He plans to attend UT Austin to major in civil engineering.