As commencement weekend approaches, VCUarts seniors have plenty to celebrate. For Ricardo Rodriguez, a music education major, the milestone is also an important one for his family, as he becomes the first person in his family to graduate from college.

Rodriguez enrolled at VCU undeclared. He thought about becoming a computer programmer. He considered majoring in business. He kept coming back to music.

He befriended Justin Alexander, Ph.D., director of percussion studies, and Alexander became his mentor. By the time Rodriguez began his practicum, just before he started student teaching, he knew he had made the right decision.

“That’s when I was like, ‘All right, this is becoming a thing — this is awesome, I get to do what I want to do,’” he said. “The first two years are spent learning how to play these instruments and learning how to teach, not actually being in front of the students. When I started my practicum that’s when I was like, ‘This is great. I’m loving this.’”

“I feel very blessed,” he said. “My parents didn’t have any of this. They had to leave school to work for their families. They put in the time to give me something they weren’t able to get.”

Read the full article at VCU News.


May 14, 2018