Georgia Rodriguez, or “Ms. R” as she is fondly called by the students at Immaculate Conception School (ICS), never truly left ICS after her eighth grade graduation in 1997. Throughout her high school years at St. Monica’s High School and while she was an undergrad at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), she volunteered in the ICS summer programs every time she had an opportunity. After graduating college and completing her teaching credential, it only felt natural for her to apply for the first grade teaching position at ICS. When asked what it was about her education at ICS that inspired her to come back, she replied, “I came back because I wanted to provide the students from my community with the same sense of home that I was given as a child. I attended ICS for eight years and was gone for nearly twelve years, but it felt like not a moment had gone by.” Georgia received warm welcomes from staff members who were once her teachers at ICS and are now her colleagues in a mission to educate and serve. In addition, she is reconnecting with alumni who are now a part of the ICS parent community. “Former students have their children attend our school and I am now teaching them. We are one family here at ICS.”
The same is true of Georgia’s sister, Carrie Rodriguez, who worked as an instructional aide in the pre-school program while she attended CSUN. Two years ago she also came home to ICS as the kindergarten teacher.
The Rodriguez girls grew up in an environment surrounded by violence and poverty in the Pico-Union area. They recognize the positive impact attending ICS made on their lives and the opportunities it afforded them. “There was a lot of poverty and violence surrounding me and my family. The local public schools did not provide the type of quality education that my parents were looking for. Catholic education offers values and morals that I have taken into my adult life,” said Georgia.
Attending ICS would not have been possible for the Rodriguez girls without the generosity of strangers who helped fund scholarships for families in need. When the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) established its Tuition Assistance Program in the early 1990’s, Georgia was among the first recipients. This scholarship was instrumental in giving Georgia and her sister a Catholic education from kindergarten through the eighth grade at ICS, “As a family we knew that our education was expensive and could not have done it without the support of donors. We were grateful for the helping hand that we were given and wanted to do the same for others.” Today the Rodriguez girls return home to ICS as the Rodriguez women and are working to give back some of what they received, to the next generation.
The ladies’ dedication to giving back, their parents’ strong commitment to their daughters’ Catholic education, and the support of donors has created a ripple of giving! We are so grateful to count Georgia and Carrie as members of our excellent faculty, and we are equally proud of their third sister, Johanna. Johanna also graduated from ICS, then went on to graduate from Loyola Law School and now practices law in Orange County. Thank you ladies for all you do for our community!