Rodriguez speaks particularly about all this from her years of experience as an athlete. She was a proud and successful member of Southside High School’s softball team. “We have great athletes out here and they’re barely getting the recognition they deserve,” she says.
“Growing up, it was hard representing Southside on our jerseys. People think so bad of us. And we do wish we had the resources that people have in the wealthier communities.
“I’m not saying that everybody on the north side is wealthy or gets everything they want, but that’s how we see it over here. Brand new stadiums, brand new schools, brand new malls.”
This spring, Rodriguez won the KENS 5 All Star Student Award, and she was featured on TV. “And of course people shared it on Facebook and Instagram and all that,” she says, and in the comments section “people were like, Southside? Where’s the Southside? What is this?
“It’s very unfortunate, because we have a lot to offer out here.”
Rodriguez responded to this challenge by stepping up. Playing softball taught her discipline, and she learned to apply that discipline to her studies, too, making the honor roll all four years of high school. And even while fighting through injuries that kept her off the field for long stretches, Rodriguez was recognized on the all-district team and named defensive MVP.
She also won academic scholarships that will support her at UNM. But she can’t help but carry a sense that if she had such success on the north side of San Antonio, even more doors of opportunity would have opened up.
Even so, as Rodriguez has risen, so has her entire area. For years, Southside Independent School district was ranked very last of the 17 San Antonio area school districts. In 2022, surged up the rankings, with seven campuses receiving B grades and one receiving an A.
Rodriguez says that even as she moves further west, her heart stays here—with her family, her community, and with a city that she always loved even when she’s not sure it was loving her back.
Any parting words for San Antonio?
“Don’t count the Southside out,” she says.
“We have a lot of talent out here. Very smart kids out here, smart adults, great leadership out here. We just hope that people will look at our perspective and take a chance on a kid from the Southside.
All we need is a chance, and we’re gonna make it happen.”