All in the Family: Three Siblings Make University of Mount Olive Their Choice
MOUNT OLIVE – In 2004 Alex, Elvia, and Jose Rodriguez moved from Usulutan, El Salvador to Dudley, North Carolina. They came to the United States in search of the “American Dream.” “Our parents were already here, and they saw a better future for us in the United States,” Alex explained.
Twenty-one year old Alex was the first of the Rodriguez kids to be college bound. Academically and athletically gifted, his choices were abundant. However, when push came to shove, Alex did not have to look any further than his back door. “I decided to come to University of Mount Olive because it’s closer to the place I call home. I wanted to stay near my family and good friends.”
It was a bonus that Alex was recruited for the men’s soccer team where he plays- left back, forward, and sometimes midfielder. Because of his soccer skills Alex landed an athletic scholarship. He also earned a merit scholarship for his academic abilities.
“Without scholarship support, neither my siblings nor I could have attended college. I am very thankful to the donors that have given us this chance and I’d like to tell them, ‘thank you and God bless you,’ because they are the reason all three of us are here.”
Alex takes his role as the “big brother” seriously. “I know my siblings look up to me. That is a lot of pressure, but I do my best to attend class, do my homework, make good grades and present myself in a positive light. I want to set a good example.”
Alex is doing just that. In the first semester of his junior year he maintained a 4.0 GPA. A physical education major, Alex’s dream job after graduation is to teach physical education and coach soccer.
Alex’s 20 year old sister Elvia would also like to become a teacher. “My first, second, third, and seventh grade math teachers all inspired me to become a math teacher,” she said. “My dream job is to teach algebra at a local high school until I get my Ph.D. and come back to University of Mount Olive and teach at the collegiate level.”
Like Alex, Elvia has a passion for soccer and plays midfielder on the University of Mount Olive women’s soccer team. She’s also involved off the field in SGA, the International Club and the Ballroom Dance Club. Elvia is the recipient of the Braswell scholarship, as well as a Math and Science scholarship.
“University of Mount Olive has given me and my brothers an opportunity to succeed in life and to become professionals,” she said. “There have been many obstacles along the way that have tried to keep us from earning our college degree, but God has put many good people in our path to shine in the darkness.”
The youngest of the siblings, 18 year old Jose, enrolled at University of Mount Olive this fall. He is following in his sister’s footsteps as a math education major and, like both his siblings, he is also a scholarship recipient.
“I see teaching as a career in which I can change the lives of many people and the generations that are to come,” he said.
Jose like his siblings loves soccer, but an injury has kept him from playing this year. Instead, he is serving as the manager of the men’s soccer team. Although he has only been on campus for a few short months, Jose has already discovered what makes MOC special. “The faculty members are like one big happy family,” he shared. “They go out of their way to help students in whatever way they can. The campus is beautiful and I’m meeting so many wonderful people. It’s a bonus to have my brother and sister here as well. We challenge each other and compete to see who can earn the highest grades. We are all having a great experience.”
Elvia summed up the thoughts for the Rodriguez family, “University of Mount Olive has given us an opportunity to succeed in life, and to become what others said we would never be. For that, we will forever be grateful.”
University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.