AURORA – He admitted it. It drove Hector Rodriguez crazy.
Last week, he received an email that a decision had been made concerning his attempt at landing a Daniels Scholarship. It arrived on Monday. But, no, there was nothing specific about his status.
So he had to wait for an actual letter through the U.S. Postal Service and last weekend’s storm, the fourth-largest March snowfall on record, made it that much more irritating as well as slower.
Everyone has had it happen. Staring at an empty mailbox. Peeking through a window to see if a mail truck is nearby. Will either ever come?
“I was, like, freaking out,” the Mullen senior said. “I was thinking, ‘How could I make the days go by faster?’”
They didn’t seem to go any faster, of course, but Wednesday finally arrived, the letter was delivered and Rodriguez read what he had craved – he’s one of the very fortunate recipients of the prestigious scholarships that will cover his college costs.
“It feels fantastic,” he said. “It’s a huge accomplishment. I’m definitely relieved. Now, I don’t have to worry about paying for college anymore.”
The scholarship covers tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and miscellaneous educational expenses up to $25,000 per year for four years. It’s unique to each student and depends on each student’s needs, including other scholarships. Rodriguez said he also has earned an Evans Scholarship as he works summers at Common Ground Golf Course.
Rodriguez will have a meeting and complete the paperwork under the scholarship guidelines and it will be Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., for him, possibly with a major in computer science and a minor in theology, “but I still haven’t made full decision what I want to study,” he said.
Mustangs faculty isn’t surprised and believes this is just another step in Rodriguez’s evolvement.
“Hector is one of the most conscientious and kind people we have at Mullen,” principal Jeff Howard said. “He’s compassionate, a great student and person, and I think he deserves this award. It’s great for him and his family.”
Said Frank Cawley, admissions director at Mullen: “He’s a great kid and a deserving one.”
Rodriguez is ready to begin his final trimester and he brings straight A’s and a 4.09 grade-point average.
The scholarship was instituted by Bill Daniels, who had the classic story of growing up poor, becoming rich mainly through cable television, and having a heart and foresight the size of the Rocky Mountains. He’s a man who stood for integrity, honor and values, particularly his generosity to help others.
“I’m honored to receive this,” Rodriguez said.