Summer Graduate Makes It Count
Consuelo Rodriguez ’16 and daughter Yuridia
By Jenna Marina
ORLANDO, Fla. — Seven-year-old Yuridia Rodriguez sat next to her mother, Consuelo, and watched as her nickname Yuri was spelled out in gold stickers on a black graduation cap.
Her brother’s name, Alex, age 2, was placed down next.
“I just figured that since they’ve had to sacrifice also, I’m going to put my kids on here,” said Consuelo Rodriguez, an accounting graduate. “I’m going to put the Mexican and American flags. I’m going to put something UCF. A little bit of everything just to show what we’ve been through.”
Rodriguez, a resident of Lake County, started at UCF in 2005. When she had her daughter, she took time off but made it a priority to go back to school, even if it took her years to finish her degree.
She said she has taken one class a semester while still juggling a full-time job and taking care of her family. Rodriguez said there were times she was on campus until 3 a.m. studying or working on assignments and would then have to drive an hour home.
“I’ve been doing it more for them to show them that it’s possible and they can do it,” she said as she looked at Yuridia. “When they grow up and it’s their turn, they can see that I did it. They need to go above what I did.”
She hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in accounting. Her parents, husband, children and three siblings will all be in attendance to watch her cross the stage at CFE Arena on graduation day.
“It just feels awesome. I thought it was never going to finish,” she said. “Our family doesn’t have a lot of graduates. It means a lot to everybody.”