WHITTIER – Whittier High School senior Cristian Rodriguez loves working behind the scenes – whether that’s by providing support as a member of the Vic Lopez Auditorium Technical Crew (ATC) or helping to co-author and publicize his family’s literary projects.

Since arriving at Whittier High as a sophomore, Rodriguez has passed four Advanced Placement exams, earned a 4.45 GPA, gained a reputation for his maturity and leadership skills and is poised to be one of the school’s valedictorians.

Not only is he the school’s 2019-20 Exemplary Student, Rodriguez was also recognized with an Award of Merit by the Whittier Union Board of Trustees on Feb. 11.

“I want to thank all the amazing teachers and staff who have helped me throughout my journey at Whittier High,” Rodriguez said. “I’d also like to thank my beautiful family. I am hoping that I can be a role model for my cousins. I want them to be ten times as good as I am.”

At Whittier High, Rodriguez quickly immersed himself in academics and activities, enjoying the challenges of Honors English and AP European History, as well as the discipline of being a member of the Whittier High’s Cardinal Brigade marching band.

He joined the Vic Lopez ATC the summer before his senior year, proving himself to be an invaluable employee, showing aptitude and initiative while interacting with professional entertainers and learning how to be a lighting technician and sound engineer.

Outside of school and work, Rodriguez has also helped develop the illustrations for his family’s 2017 children’s book, “Mommy, Tell Me Why I Am Radiant,” and promoted the bilingual vocabulary book through social media. He is co-authoring the family’s next project, “Roy the Bedhead Boy.”

Rodriguez hopes to get accepted into the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and work for a film production company, providing behind-the-scenes work as a writer, editor, director or cinematographer.

“Cristian is an outstanding Whittier Cardinal – a focused, mature student who is appreciated for his sense of humor, communication skills and maturity,” Whittier High Principal Timothy Liggett said. “We wish Cristian the best of luck in his future and look forward to someday seeing his name in lights.”

021920_WUHSD_RODRIGUEZ1: Whittier High School senior Cristian Rodriguez, pictured with Board of Trustees President Leighton Anderson, was honored with an Award of Merit for his excellence in academics, leadership in the classroom and maturity in work and at home on Feb. 11. Also pictured are Board members Jeff Baird (left), Dr. Ralph Pacheco and Vice President Tim Schneider.

021920_WUHSD_RODRIGUEZ2: Whittier High School senior Cristian Rodriguez, pictured with Principal Timothy Liggett, was honored with an Award of Merit by the Whittier Union Board of Trustees on Feb. 11.