When 18-year-old Jovan Rodriguez graduates from Westbridge Academy this June, he will take pride and personal growth with him. School leaders describe Jovan as mature, respectful, patient, inspiring, encouraging, persevering and a mentor to other students.
It has not always been that way.
When I first got here, I did not like all the structure, but I have changed a lot. Everything is different now – my posture, my social skills, my behavior, and especially my grades. Science is my favorite subject.
Jovan credits his success to “the love and the care” he has received from staff. “They always went the extra mile for me,” he said.
He advises other students not to take the easy route to success: “If there are two roads, I think it is better to go through the blood, the sweat and the tears to get there, not just fly over it. Once you reach your goal, you will be very proud of yourself.”
After graduation, Jovan will follow in his family’s tradition of service. He hopes to work with the Irvington Police Department, or join the armed forces.
According to Tamara Villagran, his case manager for the last 6 years, Jovan has taken full advantage of the programs and supports Westbridge offers, and has worked hard.
“Jovan holds a lot of promise. He came as a boy and leaves as a young man. We will all miss him,” said Dr. Viviana Litovsky.