When Michelle Rodriguez looks out into the vast expanses of rural Shandon, she sees opportunity.
“I like living in a rural area because it’s not noisy or crowded like in big urban areas, and it’s just a place where I can stand out,” she said.
Rodriguez, 17, is a senior at Shandon High School and has taken on leadership roles in Future Farmers of America and as her school’s associated student body president. She also recently showed a hog at the California Mid-State Fair.
“At my school we only have 58 students, so we all know each other very well,” she said.
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Rodriguez loves sports, bike rides and hikes with her family, but also won’t turn down a good read.
“I’m a big bookworm,” she said. “If I’m not playing or doing something active, I have a book in my face.”
For the most part, the teen says growing up in a small community has been a great fit for her.
“I like to go to the riverbed and ride dirt bikes with my friends and … go for walks during the evenings with my two sisters,” she said. “Shandon is a very quiet and calm town. If you like living away from busy streets and crowded areas, then Shandon is a perfect place to live.”
Overall, she says there’s just something about Shandon that pulls her in.
“Even though it’s a very small town, people always seem to come back to Shandon or say how much they miss it,” she said. “There’s something about Shandon that just leaves a great impact on your life, whether you choose to believe it or not.”
• Ramirez Farm Labor Contractor Inc.
• Shandon Joint Unified School District