Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Trinity Episcopal Day School sophomore Sarah Rodriguez has not only been excelling in the classroom, but also on the stage. Rodriguez will be acting as the housewife in the play “The Scarlet Letter” as part of the in the annual Jefferson Street United Methodist Church dinner theater production.

VIP room inspires straight A’s

Published 12:04am Thursday, April 19, 2012

NATCHEZ — Maybe all it took to encourage Sarah Rodriguez to ride a straight-A wave for six years was air conditioning, TV and a fancy title.

The Trinity Episcopal Day School sophomore was in fifth grade when the school rewarded students who earned all A’s on their report cards by allowing them to eat lunch in a “special room.”

“It’s this room off the side of the cafeteria they called the ‘VIP room.’” Rodriguez said.

Looking back, she said it was just a quiet room with air conditioning, board games and a TV. But regardless of her motives in fifth grade, it started a trend for Rodriguez.

“I decided to try to keep getting A’s,” she said.

Since that year, Rodriguez hasn’t earned a grade lower than an A on her report card.

And by doubling up on required classes, for example, by taking both honors physics and honors chemistry this year, Rodriguez has given herself a major head start.

“I could graduate (a year) early, but I’ll stay (at Trinity) for my senior year,” Rodriguez said.

Additionally, she’s taking an online Spanish course during her free period on top of Latin courses she took as an elective.

But academics aren’t the only area in which Rodriguez, a cross-country runner, goes the extra mile.

This year, the 4.0 student also participated in the Key Club, National Honor Society, a school book club, quiz bowl and the youth legislature.

Outside of Trinity, she’s also very involved at her church, the Jefferson Street United Methodist Church.

“I feel like I have a core group of people who share (my faith),” Rodriguez said.

So when she’s not studying or running this week, Rodriguez will be rehearsing her role as a housewife in the Jefferson Street UMC dinner theater production of “The Scarlet Letter.”

Rodriguez said she likes to be busy and recognizes her need to challenge herself.

“I don’t want to get bored,” she said.

And she blames that need on her school’s encouragement and her parents for exposing her to the world through travel.

Though one might think Rodriguez’s drive is directed at a specific target, but she said the opposite is true.

Since she doesn’t yet know what career path she wants to follow, keeping a steady 4.0 and spreading herself thin among a variety of activities will help to keep her options open, Rodriguez said.

“I want the world to be open to me,” she said.

And if for no other reason, Rodriguez said remaining a diligent student in all of her classes will keep her ready for the adult version of the VIP room.

“My mother tells me if you can’t get anything else from school — just get some (material) for cocktail party conversation,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is the daughter of Jack and Linda Rodriguez.