In the news:
Dobie student named
National Merit Finalist
three and a half years of hard work and dedication in high school, Dobie
High School senior Samantha Rodriguez has received one of the ultimate
honors as she was recently named as a National Merit Finalist.
Rodriguez was named as a National Merit Finalist by the National Merit
Scholarship Program after being selected as one of approximately 16,000
semifinalists in the program, which is less than one percent of U.S.
high school graduating seniors.
"I am thrilled to be named as a National Merit Finalist," said
Rodriguez. "Receiving this title adds to my confidence concerning my
future goals for college. When taking the PSAT and SAT tests, I had no
idea the outcome would be this overwhelming. Nevertheless, it feels
amazing to be recognized for my work throughout my high school career."
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for
recognition by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). This
year, the NMSC stated that more than 1.4 million juniors in nearly
21,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2006 Preliminary
SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which
served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of
semi-finalists includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.
To become a finalist, a semi-finalist must have an outstanding academic
record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school
principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's qualifying test
performance. Rodriguez's testing scores were ranked within the top one
percent of the nation.
"It's very exciting to have a student who is bright, talented and modest
be recognized in this way," said Dobie senior counselor Jennifer Haynes.
"Not only is Samantha representing herself, her family and her school,
she is also the best of the best, and I couldn't be more proud of her."
Rodriguez said that this award serves as a strong motivator for students
to be active in school while maintaining good grades. She also said this
achievement has taught her that hard work and dedication pays off and
she now see that her achievements not only affect her, but her school as
"As students, we always want our work to be acknowledged, but many
students' hard work goes unnoticed at times," she said. "Striving toward
a goal such as becoming a National Merit Scholar is striving toward the
recognition that any hard working, dedicated student deserves. It has
kept me motivated during my senior year, when it is so easy to lose
Since her time at Dobie, Rodriguez has represented her peers in a
variety of ways. She first served as the vice-president of her freshmen
class and as an active member of student council. She remained a member
of student council through her junior year when she became chairman of
education and needs. As a senior, her peers elected her as Student
Council/Student Body President.
Rodriguez is also a representative on Dobie's Site Based Decision Making
Committee and is a member of Pasadena ISD's District Education Committee
and the Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee. She was chosen to
sing in Dobie's top varsity choir, JFD Singers, her junior year, which
she still currently sings for. Among her highest achievements, Rodriguez
was published by the Texas Folklore Society for a paper she wrote
(Tattoos in Texas) about teenage Texans expressing themselves through
body art. Rodriguez's paper was chosen as one of few others to be
published, and she will present her paper to the society in late March
along with the other selected students and professors.
Rodriguez is also an active member of Distributive Education Clubs of
America (DECA), an organization allowing students with a career interest
in hospitality, finance, sales and service, business administration
and/or entrepreneurship to gain training and competitive opportunities.
As a member of DECA, Rodriguez is required to have a job, and she works
nearly 20 hours a week at San Jacinto College South's Student Success
Center tutoring college students in Composition I and II and in
mathematics courses up to Finite math. Rodriguez recently competed in
DECA's regional competition and advanced to the state competition, which
will be held in late February. Rodriguez was also inducted into Dobie's
National Honors Society at the beginning of the school year.
"Samantha has a passion for volunteer work and gives of her time behind
the scenes at Dobie and in the community," Haynes said. "She is a
humble, well-rounded young woman who represents her peers well through
all of her activities all while working a part-time job and keeping up
with her rigorous course load."
To ensure she achieves her goals, Rodriguez said it has been important
for her to be involved and have good grades throughout high school.
"High school is not just a student's holding place until they go to
college or get a job," she said. "High school is a place meant for
intellectual expansion and growth."
Rodriguez plans to attend Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island
after her graduation from Dobie in June and plans to major in Applied
Mathematics and International Relations. In the next five years,
Rodriguez hopes to graduate in the top five percent of her Dobie class,
graduate with two undergraduate degrees from Brown and begin work on her
Dobie's principal Steve Jamail said he expects to see great things from
Rodriguez in the future and that she is the perfect example of "Dobie
"Samantha's positive attitude is contagious to all that come in contact
with her," Jamail said. "We are so proud of her accomplishment, but the
greatest thing about Samantha is the fact that she is just a great kid.
We interpret 'Dobie Pride' as doing your best at whatever task you
undertake and going the extra mile when no one is looking. I don't think
I know anyone who exemplifies this more than Samantha. I know in the
future she will be a great success, and she makes us all very proud."