After being given a class wordle and poster in an gratitude activity by students in CHS9 Spanish II teacher Christie Nelson’s sixth period class, CHS9 custodian Jose Rodrigues didn’t expect his next gift.
Presented with a brand-new Ezekiel Elliott jersey from his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys, the simple gesture did not fail to move Rodrigues.
“They almost made me cry,” Rodrigues said. “This is very nice for everybody to do this,”
The spur-of-the-moment idea was pitched by two CHS9 freshman – Will Raetzman and Peter Clark, who knew exactly what to give their friend.
“We talk with [Rodrigues] almost everyday,” Clark said. “He always talks about the Cowboys and how they did that week. He comes to our lunch table and talks to us, tells us jokes, and we just wanted to give him something nice,”
A popular name among many students across the campus, Rodrigues’ lively rapport with students is recognized by even teachers.
“[The students] talk about how you need to be a ‘Jose’, which I think they know that he cares, that he engages with him. Some of them have secret handshakes with him literally, he’s there every morning to say good morning to [students],” Nelson said. “He’ll speak to them in Spanish and respond back to them. I will see very few students who walk past him and not say hello or give a him a high five or fist bump.”
Rodrigues’s connection to Coppell ISD goes beyond his connection with students, as he has been in the district for nearly 30 years holding the same job. Rodrigues has worked at the old Coppell Middle School West, Coppell Middle School East, Coppell High School, and now at CHS9.
“You can ask me about any school, and I’ll tell you exactly where it is,” Rodrigues said.
With the entire process being student-led, teachers and administration are in awe of the kind act unfolding completely at the hands of their own students.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” CHS9 principal Cody Koontz said. “We really tried to create a family atmosphere here, so to see our kids take control of that and reach out to do something so selfless to show appreciation for Jose and the role he plays on our campus. Student achievement scores are great, athletic achievements and extracurricular achievements are great, but I’d take something like this any day of the day of week as a principal.”