SAINT PAUL, Minnesota—A Saint Paul resident was selected a spring semester Outstanding Student at Metropolitan State University.
Rodrigo J. Sanchez, who graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree, was chosen as an Outstanding Student represented the university’s School of Urban Education. He was one of 1,058 students receiving bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at Metropolitan State’s 102nd commencement exercises on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
From the outset at Metropolitan State, Sanchez wanted to become an educator. He feared not being able to fit in, not only as a student but as a schoolteacher and in the classroom. “I feared that I wasn’t built for this but I worked hard each and every day to become a better person, to become a better teacher. I also don’t take all the credit because my professors reassured me and supported me every single time, they always had something positive to say and helped me boost my confidence.”
“I heard great things from people and friends about the Urban Education program,” he says. “I had that goal set for a while but I knew Metropolitan State would help me achieve that goal.” He appreciated the real-world experiences his professors brought to courses, and practical exercises such as using classroom scenarios of real-world problems to teach preparation and lesson planning. Following graduation and as he pursues his teaching career, he plans to enroll in a master’s program at Metropolitan State.
Sanchez is a Special Education Paraprofessional and currently works at Academia Cesar Chavez charter school, where he also has coached both the boys and girls basketball teams. He is also active with his church, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Bruce Drewlow, a professor in the School of Urban Education, says, “Rodrigo Sanchez epitomizes what it means to be an urban educator. He is a strong advocate for the diverse students we find within our urban classrooms working on behalf of the under-served students. Rodrigo is able to see the assets that each student brings into our classrooms and builds upon those assets. Rodrigo wrote and illustrated a children’s book for his Language Arts methods course which clearly displayed his passion. There are not enough adjectives to describe this individual although ‘impressive’ encapsulates many of them. This is a well-deserved award.”
In her nomination of Sanchez, Dr. Yvonne RB-Banks, School of Urban Education, wrote, “What an outstanding gem—Mr. Sanchez is well prepared to bring leadership to his future classroom—as he has demonstrated the innate ability to be inclusive, as well as, the ability to use specific techniques in assessment to bring about the best learning outcomes for a diverse body of students— “impressive” is often the word I would give as feedback on his academic work. He is well deserving of this academic acknowledgement.”