Rollins

Rodriguez ’23 Named Support Person of the Year

February 28, 2023

By Gigi Marino

Alex Rodriguez ’23
Photo by Scott Cook.

Pathways to Teaching student and current teaching aide Alex Rodriguez ’23 has been recognized as Orange County Public Schools’ Support Person of the Year.

After being nominated as one of just five finalists, Alex Rodriguez ’23 has earned Orange County Public School’s 2022-23 Support Person of the Year Award. He received the award at the OCPS Stellar Awards held at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando on February 10.

In his acceptance speech, Rodriguez, a bilingual educational paraprofessional at Vista Pointe Elementary School in Orlando, thanked many for their help with his success, but most of all, his parents and Rollins—specifically, the College’s Pathways to Teaching program. This unique partnership between Rollins and OCPS facilitates students earning their bachelor’s degree in education in 2.5 years as they also work as paraprofessionals in Orlando-area schools.

“I would like to thank Rollins College for opening doors for future educators like myself to earn their degree in education,” says Rodriguez. “The Pathways to Teaching program has provided me with an opportunity to reach my dreams that I will forever be grateful for.”

Rodriguez admits that his own path wasn’t always so straightforward.

“I had been struggling with my college education and was unmotivated to finish,” he says. “Rollins truly rebuilt my motivation and has prepared me for teaching in a short amount of time.”

In his current role, Rodriguez works one-on-one with grade-school students to ensure that they are on par with their peers in reading and comprehension. He also directs the school’s News Crew, monitors the cafeteria, and oversees dismissal.

“I have seen Alex work so hard, and no matter what is needed of him, he volunteers and wants to do it,” says Maira Rivera, dean at OCPS. “Anything that’s for the benefit of the kids, he is there. I am super proud of the fact that he is always positive. I just can’t wait for him to finish so he can be one of our amazing teachers.”

Neither can Rodriguez. Once he graduates in May, he plans to teach reading to grades three through five at Vista Pointe Elementary.


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