Community Volunteer Lola Rodriguez Cares for Others, Earns Full Tuition Scholarship to College
Oak Cliff senior Dolores “Lola” Rodriguez is about to graduate from Bishop Dunne High School and head northwest on a full tuition college scholarship. She will be the first in her family to go to college.
Born in Dallas, she was raised by a single mom, Virginia Aranda, and has two sisters: Celina Aranda, 28, and Sarah Rodriguez, 11; and one brother, Alex Rodriguez, age 13.
Lola has known from childhood what she wanted to be when she grew up: A Pediatrician, to help others, “because of my passion for science and children.”
She’s on her way this fall. Accepted to every college she applied to, she will be attending the University of Dallas on a full tuition scholarship, named after another Bishop Dunne and UD graduate, Deacon Paul Wood, who still works at her high school.
Her back up schools include: Loyola University of Chicago, Texas A&M-Texarkana, Our Lady of the Lake University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, Houston Baptist University, Dallas Baptist University, St. Mary’s University-San Antonio, St. Edward’s University and The University of Oklahoma.
Her goal is to complete her undergrad degree in Biology and head off to Medical school to receive a M.D. degree. She says, “While doing this I will be completing internships, community service, research opportunities, and shadowing different physicians in my desired field at clinics and/or hospitals. I will perform residency in Pediatrics while also conducting research.”
Everyone who knows Lola expects her goals to be achieved just as she has planned. She is extremely dedicated to helping others and says, “Dedication is key because if you offer to help someone, you need to show up. Your passion for service must be joined by your dependability.”
Lola has volunteered the past four years at The North Texas Food Bank and St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School, where she graduated from and where her mother continues to work in the pre-k classroom. Lola says, “My dedication to these two non-profits has been ongoing since I was a freshman: preparing meals at NTFB or tutoring at St. Elizabeth’s--feeding the body and mind; feeding hungry people I may never meet and instructing young children who need a little bit of encouragement to keep learning, get good grades, for a good life.”
Raised by her strong and loving mother, Lola says, “I kept my head held high and listened to my mother’s encouraging words.” Lola learned to rely more on herself and says she has grown to become an independent strong woman.
As she prepares to take her Final Exams, Lola looks forward to her graduation on May 25th. Her summer will undoubtedly be filled with more service to others, and she may see the new documentary on the Pope, because he is the one famous person she would love to meet.
Ten years from now, “I plan to live in Dallas still and will run my own medical practice here,” she says. But she also plans to manage her time, so she can serve children in third world countries.
Although she says she was shy as a child, she grew bold enough to resurrect the long-defunct Color Guard for her Falcon High School Band two years ago, and even became its Captain this past year. She had no dance experience and just decided to do it because the school's band director mentioned it. That takes guts, determination and enthusiasm. Lola has all three.
As she heads off to college this fall, Lola is ready to take on the world in a big way: as a role model for her younger brother and sister, as a tutor, as a volunteer to the hungry and, one day soon, a pediatrician in the city of Dallas.
Judy Porter writes about local heroes, non-profits and small businesses in Dallas. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org