Community gathers to honor late Trustee Rodríguez at board auditorium naming ceremony

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The family of late District III Trustee Manuel Rodríguez Jr., along with elected officials, educators, and community members, gathered at Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center on Thursday to dedicate the board auditorium in his name.

Rodríguez, who passed away July 19, was a lifelong public servant and a trustee for 14 years. He was also a product of HISD schools, graduating from Austin High School in 1970 after attending Franklin Elementary and McReynolds Middle schools. His wife and four children also attended HISD schools.

“Today is a day of joy as we leave behind a legacy for the Rodríguez family,” said HISD Board of Education President Wanda Adams.

Student performers from District III campuses entertained the crowd before a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a video presentation, in which Rodriguez spoke of his passion for making sure all children receive a quality education.

“My parents worked hard. They taught us to have an education,” he says in the video. “And you’re always learning. You don’t just go to high school – you go on to college and you continue learning new things that will help you evolve and become a better citizen for your community.”

Rodríguez’s work in the district led to the establishment of the successful Maritime Academies at Austin and Yates, an expansion of dual-credit and credit-recovery programs, and the implementation of blended learning. He also championed college and career pathways that gave students more options after graduation.

Superintendent Richard Carranza read aloud an original poem written by Rodríguez and published in the book “Timeless Voices” by Howard Ely:

As the Years Take Their Toll

May we grow old with grace and dignity,
With friends and family.
May we not lack for comfort or food,
Or mental and physical stimulation.
May we leave this world with love and peace
And not know pain and solitude.
May we have God’s blessing to enter His
Kingdom of Paradise for eternity.