A family tragedy drew Andreina Rodriguez back to her roots – to the parish school that nurtured her as a little girl and provided comfort to her as a young adult. Now, at age 28, she has returned to advocate for others and help them to grow in their faith, despite life’s challenges.
“I graduated from St. Joseph Catholic School in 2003, Rosary High School in 2007, CSUF in 2011, and with a master’s in science from University of La Verne in 2016,” Rodriguez said. “I will be going back to school for my second master’s in School Counseling in Spring 2018 after recognizing a great need for mental, social, and emotional health, especially in our private Catholic schools.”
Rodriguez has always felt drawn to working with children in vulnerable situations and served as a bereavement volunteer at CHOC, and is now a Child Abuse Services victim advocate. This stems, she says, from the loss of her own niece, Alejandra, just 14 years old when she died in an accident in 2008. Rodriguez had at the time accepted a position as a receptionist at St. Joseph Catholic Church, the start of what she describes as a much-needed anchor to keep her physically close to the Church.
Interestingly, she began her education at St. Joseph – a place she says took her in. “This school took me in when I knew barely any English as a first grader because they believed in me,” she said. “They knew that I could succeed before I realized that in myself…now as an adult. And so, I grew determined to give that back to the students at St. Joseph School and now am the Learning Support teacher.”
She summarizes the school’s impact on the community like this: “At St Joseph School, God and student comes first, and everything else will follow. When you graduate from St. Joseph, you are a Spartan for life; a soldier of God, ready to embark on life’s struggles with the grace and strength of the Holy Word, which are shown through action and our triumphs.”