This fall, when Jacob Rodriguez starts his freshman year at University of California, San Diego, he will be a first-generation college student within his family. Jacob has grown up at Dinuba (Calif.) MB Church. He received Dinuba’s Teenage Citizen of the Year award. Jacob took some time out from his busy graduation event schedule to talk about his successes.
How does someone get to be Dinuba Teenage Citizen of the Year?
Anyone who wants to can apply. The Dinuba Women’s Club chooses the top three applicants. The top three go through an interview process where they ask you about your life and how Dinuba made you the person you are today.
Why do you think they chose you?
Probably because of all my activities. I was associated student body president and a four-sport athlete‚ basketball, football, water polo and golf. I competed at the state competition for the Health Occupation Students of America club and was president of the club my junior year. I was also part of Med Academy for kids who want to enter a medical career.
What does this award mean to you?
The Women’s Club helping me out and believing I can achieve what I plan to do means a lot. Plus, it has helped me learn what my community is about and what they have to offer.
You plan to pursue medicine?
Yes. My junior year I got to volunteer in a summer program at Adventist Health that gave us experience in the medical profession. That sparked my passion for radiology. I want to become a radiation oncologist, a doctor who cures cancer patients using radiation.
How would you define success?
It is doing the most you can do and achieving an end result you are proud of. It may not be achieving what you planned to, but knowing you did all you can. I wanted to go to an Ivy League school, but God has a plan and the end result will be whatever God has for me in my life.
What do you think teenagers have to teach other Christians?
Sometimes it may seem like God isn’t there or that he’s letting bad things happen to spite you. But he’s not doing this to make you go through a horrible time, but to help you become a better Christian and a better person overall. He’s always going to be there for you.
Kathy Heinrichs Wiest is a freelance writer who loves the smell of whole wheat bread in the oven, the feel of an orange being plucked from the tree and the view from her front porch in Kingsburg, California. On Sunday mornings you’ll find her in the fourth pew from the front on the left at Kingsburg MB Church, moved by the hymns and praise songs and inspired by the stories of God at work locally and around the world. She and her husband, Steve, own Dovetail Remodeling. They have two grown daughters, one son-in-law and a precious granddaughter.