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Trinity teacher always helping her students, church family

JUSTIN SELLERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Trinity Episcopal Day School teacher Linda Rodriguez has a discussion with her students about contributions various cultures have made throughout history during an AP World History class Thursday.
JUSTIN SELLERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Trinity Episcopal Day School teacher Linda Rodriguez has a discussion with her students about contributions various cultures have made throughout history during an AP World History class Thursday.

NATCHEZ — Linda Rodriguez has spent 13 years teaching at Trinity Episcopal Day School, and in that time, she’s developed a love for its students that motivates her to go above and beyond as a teacher.

Rodriguez, who teaches Latin and history, is head of the school’s global studies program, which is looking to prepare students to compete in a global market by letting students interact with other cultures.

But her involvement doesn’t stop there. Rodriguez is also in charge of the school’s green program, hosts study halls after school, is the junior class sponsor, chaperones school dances and helps plan prom.

“I’m always here,” Rodriguez joked.

And Rodriguez said she wouldn’t have it any other way, since helping build up her students’ future is worth the extra time and effort.

“I can’t imagine not coming to school,” Rodriguez said. “My soul is fed so much through these kids, and it’s keeping me active.”

All four of Rodriguez’s children attend Trinity, and Rodriguez said that serves as extra motivation for her to help make the school the best it can be.

“Everything I can do to create an active, interesting and inspiring learning environment for them will benefit everyone else,” Rodriguez said. “I want my kids to love school. Touching that part in my children that sparks their interest is like fireworks.”

As part of the global studies initiative, Rodriguez is creating ways for students to interact with students from different countries.

“Already, the kids are so excited,” she said. “One of them came up to me and said, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re getting to Skype with these kids.’” Rodriguez said. “I’m thrilled that the little I do seems to have an impact on these kids.”

Trinity headmaster Les Hegwood said he’s grateful for Rodriguez’s work in going above and beyond to help promote the school on an international level.

“It’s nice to be able to charge someone with something and know they’re gong to take the bull by the horns and really get after it,” Hegwood said.

Hegwood also said versatile people like Rodriguez are important for any private school.

“Everyone on our staff wears so many different hats, and the ones who survive in this business are the ones who embrace that role joyfully,” Hegwood explained.

Rodriguez stressed she has plenty of assistance at Trinity, and everyone at the school buys into the team concept. All of that goes back to creating a positive learning environment for the students, she said.

“When you can inspire the next generation, who wouldn’t want to do that?” Rodriguez said.

When she’s not busy at Trinity, Rodriguez can often be found volunteering her time at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church. She runs the church’s Bible school program in the summer, teaches fifth- and sixth-graders on Wednesday nights, helps host lock-in and movie nights and helps organize mission trips.

“Like teaching, it’s always more than the 50 minutes you’re scheduled for,” Rodriguez said. Ridgecrest accident