Living Here Guide

For one high school senior, rural Shandon is the perfect place to live

Michelle Rodriguez, an FFA student, caring for her hog at the Shandon High School barn.
Michelle Rodriguez, an FFA student, caring for her hog at the Shandon High School barn.

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.

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.”


Population: 1,323

Key employers:

• Ramirez Farm Labor Contractor Inc.

• Shandon Joint Unified School District